If you can afford to buy a penthouse on the beach in Miami, you’ve made it. Congratulations. Most people will spend their whole working lives without ever being able to afford to do such a thing, so we can only gaze upon those who do in wonder and envy. Property prices in Miami have been inflated for years, but nowhere do you see proof of that more than you do with a beach penthouse. You’d need to lodge a seven-figure bid to acquire even the smallest of them. If you’re shopping at the luxury end of the market, you’ll need to go much higher than that.
This past month, a penthouse on Miami Beach’s Surfside neighborhood sold for $22.5m. That’s a lot of money, but it’s not a historic amount of money. Nor is it the most expensive property ever sold in the area. Nevertheless, it’s made American history. It’s officially the biggest price ever paid for real estate using cryptocurrency in the United States of America. The buyer of the property wishes to remain anonymous – hardly surprising in these circumstances – and the type of cryptocurrency used is also being kept secret. We wouldn’t mind betting it was Bitcoin, but we’ll never know for sure. However, there are some details we can tell you.
Although news of the deal has only reached the press this month, the purchase went through on May 27th. The property in question is on the 9th floor of the Arte Surfside building and covers an area of more than five thousand square feet. That’s still a lot of money per square foot, but we digress. Realtors dealing with the sale of the living spaces inside Arte Surfside House, all of which were designed by Antonio Citterio, have been struggling to find buyers until recently. That prompted a groundbreaking decision six weeks ago to announce they’d consider offers made in cryptocurrency. Some dismissed the move as a publicity stunt, and yet it’s paid off. In return for their (presumably carefully curated) crypto cash, the buyer gets four bathrooms, four bedrooms, and an enormous terrace with a beautiful view across the ocean. It’s a paradise property – which is why it attracted a paradise price. The buyer will also enjoy access to communal swimming pools both indoors and outdoors, gyms, yoga studios, and a tennis court on the roof. It sounds like a millionaire’s playground – which is exactly what it is.
While this is the largest cryptocurrency real estate deal in American history, it’s a long way short of being the largest cryptocurrency real estate deal in the world. That honour goes to a penthouse apartment at the iconic One Hyde Park development in London, England, which recently sold for just under $250m, all of which was paid for with cryptocurrency. The purchaser involved in that deal also wished to remain anonymous, but press reports in London strongly suggest that the new owner is a Russian investor. Such is the success of these initiatives that it’s now likely that more sellers will open themselves up to crypto buyers. There’s been a distrust of the pseudo-currencies within the real estate industry until now, but it’s likely that most firms will now consider it unwise to stay away from a form of payment when their rivals have begun to benefit from it.
This development is in line with the growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies in industries all over the world. It’s now possible to pay for a luxury car with cryptocurrency in most countries. Some websites will allow you to buy mail-order products with cryptocurrencies. There are so many cryptocurrency-positive online slots websites that they’ve almost become a niche within the wider industry. Some websites make the fact that bets on their online slots can be paid for with cryptocurrencies – usually Bitcoin – the sole focus of their promotional campaigns. The idea hasn’t caught on everywhere yet – newer online slots sites like Rose Slots CA appear to be coping just fine without it – but it’s probably only a matter of time before it becomes impossible to operate without it. The fact that PayPal and its spin-off company Venmo both now deal in cryptocurrency is telling as to the overall trend. The crypto cat is out of the bag, and it’s unlikely to go back inside it.
If there’s any surprise here at all, it’s the fact that the deal has come at a time when the value of most of the world’s biggest cryptocurrencies has begun to trend downwards. Values reached an all-time high in March this year when Bitcoin cracked the sixty-thousand-dollar barrier, and Ethereum reached a value of $5,000 since then, but the market has since experienced a heavy downturn. Bitcoin is the worst hit, having lost half of its value-per-coin since that March high. Comments made by both Elon Musk and Donald Trump have rocked the market, and the seizure of $2.3m of Bitcoin by the Department of Justice has triggered yet another earthquake. The types of media outlets that are prone to hyperbole are now touting this as “judgement day” for cryptocurrencies, although that almost certainly isn’t the case. Cryptocurrency prices have fallen and risen before and will fall and rise again. Instability is all par for the course when you’re dealing in digital money.
It’s possible that something will eventually come along and pour cold water on the idea of cryptocurrency. There’s an increasing feeling in the USA that regulators will eventually step in and either set rules or prohibit its use for certain purchases. Legislators in Europe are also taking a closer look at the way it functions and the impact it can have on centrally-backed “real” currencies. So long as very rich, very influential people continue to hold cryptocurrency stocks, though, it’s unlikely that total prohibition will ever occur. We appear to be moving into a brave new era when it comes to making big purchases, and crypto is a big part of it. If you can buy your house with cryptocurrency, it’s presumably only a matter of time before you can also use it to pay your rent or mortgage. From there, it could go anywhere.