You read that title right. In a PR stunt of the decade, a real estate company called Aston Plaza Crypto is riding the Blockchain mania in Dubai and has partnered with BitPay to sell property for Bitcoin in Dubai’s Science Park, a district 20 minutes away by car from downtown Dubai.
It looks like 2017 is shaping up to be the year of crypto: first, we had Paris Hilton advertising ICOs, and now we have apartments being sold for cryptocurrencies in Dubai. I think we can all agree that Bitcoin is finally hitting mainstream audiences with all this news.
Currently under construction, the 250 mln sterling pound project is set to be home to two towers and a mall. The 40-floor towers will include luxury studio apartments as well as one and two bedroom open plan apartments. As of this writing, the cheapest studio is going for 28.15 BTC (approximately $127,500), while the largest two bedroom apartments are selling for around 75 BTC.
Aston Plaza is a joint venture between the Isle of Man based Knox group and Baroness Michelle Mone, a British member of the House of Lords. In an interview with CNBC news, the Baroness said that Bitcoin is “the currency of the future.”
“I think because everything is logged and registered, everything's transparent, that I wouldn't be getting involved in it — especially from the House of Lords element, I'm a Baroness — so I wouldn't be getting involved in it if it was a kind of 'dodgy' industry."
By mimicking a real-life ICO, the joint venture has offered up to a 20 percent discount on these under-construction properties to early birds paying in Bitcoin. Of the 1,133 apartments, 480 have already been sold in fiat, while the remainder are up for grabs for Bitcoin enthusiasts.
Real estate on the Blockchain
Across the globe, the business behind real estate has always been traditional and boring, but this is all about to change as more and more countries are looking into testing a way to buy and sell land and house deeds more securely and efficiently on the Blockchain.
Aston Plaza is not the first to take advantage of the Blockchain’s hype factor for real estate. Take Omar Kassim for example: In 2011, he founded JadoPado, a UAE-based e-commerce platform that was recently acquired by the Dubai billionaire Mohammad Al Abbar as part of an effort to launch a competitor to Amazon in the Middle East.
Today, Omar is working on an open source real estate asset management business platform called Esanjo.
And Omar is not the only one. In fact, there have been rumors that Smart Dubai, the initiative created by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed, is working on a way to transfer property ownership directly over the Blockchain.