If you thought using Bitcoin for property sales was just the domain of the rich, famous or flamboyant, think again.
Last week, Cointelegraph reported on a US$3.6million mansion up for sale in California, but now the US has seen a more modest deal change hands between parties a few states east.
Josh Zerlan (not to be confused with the eponymous COO of beleaguered Bitcoin hardware manufacturer Butterfly Labs) has successfully purchased a property for the equivalent of US$500,000 in Olathe, Kansas.
“Once it was ready to close, it was just a matter of me doing an invoice for the amount of the home and within minutes, the bitcoins were in our account and BitPay turned it right into U.S. dollars and it was wired into our bank account,” said joint seller Virginia Hoelting of Highland Park Builders.
Zerlan told local media that his main motivation for using Bitcoin, which he had previously used to purchase two cars, was to avoid losing money in fees attached to bank transfers for a large sum such as this.
“They take a fee, you end up paying quite a bit of money. With Bitcoin, you don't have to pay any of those fees, and it is an instant transfer,” he continued.
The sellers admit they needed some persuading at first. “We kind of tip-toed through it with Josh,” second seller Tim Hoelting explained, “We were real comfortable with his knowledge of it, so we took the plunge.”
Zerlan was impressed with their openness, however, noting that attitudes towards Bitcoin in the general community are perceptibly changing apace.
“A lot of people don't understand it. They're afraid of it,” he said, “[The seller was] willing to take the time to understand it and make it happen. And to be able to do that, even last year, I don't think would have been possible.”
The difference a year makes was also recently noted by Kashmir Hill in her repeat of living one week on Bitcoin from 2013, and it would seem that its inherent usefulness is allowing the US is opening up to the digital currency while its previous negative publicity fades into the background.
“Bitcoin has gone mainstream in the past year, and so it is much easier, even luxurious (given the spike in its value), to live on it,” considered Hill in the final part of this year’s experiment.
The hype around Bitcoin becoming discernably more positive, and it is fuelled by gestures such as Zerlan’s and Hill’s which allay commonly-held stereotypes and push its functionality into the spotlight.
“I spend far less time explaining what Bitcoin is to people,” Hill writes, “because they’ve heard about it before, even if the details of how it all works still elude them.”