Cryptocurrency and the Real Estate Market
Cryptocurrencies are becoming more practical. There are sites that offer to exchange both goods and services for them. Employment services are popular and focus on encouraging its adoption. The sale of goods, while less common, is seen as a necessary step in the development of the cryptocurrency market. Recently, the real estate market has garnered a lot of attention in regard to such applications.
Can you imagine easily purchasing real estate, as well as, everyday goods and services using cryptocurrencies from anywhere in the world? Instead of an online system governed by credit ledger’s, immutable ledgers that complete final transactions are showing the ability to support a stronger economic model.
Whether you live in a log cabin outside of a major metropolis, or if you’re nowhere near Silicon Valley, the blockchain has made the modern world more accessible. Even if you prefer to use the Bitcoin satellite network, Blockstream, to stay off the conventional grid you have access. As far as real estate, there are a few cryptocurrencies currently available that caters to all that you need to complete a transaction.
Cryptocurrency’s Rising Presence in the Real Estate Market
Each year, the average American home is costing less in bitcoin. One estimate values them at less than 20 bitcoins. Though Bitcoin’s price has fallen since the end of 2017, it remains much higher than just a few short years ago when the Brothers Winklevoss made their record deal. In 2014, an undisclosed buyer purchased a luxury property for what was then worth $1.6 million dollars in bitcoin. The 2,739 bitcoins that were used for the purchase made billionaires out of the Brothers Winklevoss.
Cryptocurrencies offer several real advantages for the real estate market. From smart contracts to the clarity of ownership, blockchains bring modernization to a global economic system that was passed over by digital innovation. Initially, the Internet developed around information exchange. Digital transactions, that are only now finding security through blockchain technology, were previously treated like patch fixes responding to Internet innovations.
Blockchain technology has proven itself effective as more than just a digital financial ledger. It is being used by established corporations for dynamic data manipulation. Blockchains have always touted their value for data security. These two applications make them a lucrative venture for real estate assets.
Smart contracts are one of the newer technologies running alongside blockchains. Dynamic applications enable programmable instructions for different cryptocurrency usage. It is how they can be applied to a wide range of industries. Smart contracts enable blockchains to meet the stringent legal requirements of regulatory bodies or a rapidly evolving gaming space. As diverse as the global real estate market is, smart contracts can provide flexible solutions.
Real estate markets need clear ownership. Credit ledgers find this more difficult than a digital ledger designed from its inception to be immutable and transparent. The decentralized aspect of some blockchains means that owners themselves will be in complete control of their asset information. No longer will a central authority be needed to affirm who owns what property. The participants on the real estate blockchain will do that.
The business world is attracted to cryptocurrencies because they bring an ease to transactions that are traditionally cumbersome. Both the financial and real estate markets are governed by what some see as excessive regulation. From legal constraints to jurisdiction, these transactions are among the most difficult to complete. For the purpose of creating cryptocurrencies for real estate transactions, developers are treating them like securities. This puts them in direct competition with the financial markets. The new asset class has already become a major competitor to Wall Street. However, it has not deterred the development of a crypto real estate space.
The Tax Loophole
Taxing the crypto markets has become an increasing concern. The IRS has taken the lead. Its stance as of December 31, 2017, is that cryptocurrencies are property and they cannot be traded as currency. This makes them exempt for real estate transactions under 1031. A tax-free exchange, or swap, of real property for crypto property, would be an enormous impact on the economy.
Cryptocurrencies are already transforming the financial sector. By providing a real estate solution they would make cryptos more real in the minds of consumers. In fact, there is a high probability that perception is what is holding back the crypto market. In conventional terms, this would be consumer confidence. Certainly, if the IRS deems cryptos viable for real estate tax exemptions while heavily regulating them in others, the general population would more readily accept them.
There is more to the tax dilemma though. It is unclear if the IRS is overstepping its authority in the way that it plans to tax cryptocurrencies. Also announced at the end of the year was that cryptocurrencies cannot be exchanged amongst themselves without tax consideration. If cryptocurrencies could not trade like the financial sector, then this would severely hamper the growth of the new market. Some are expecting a carefully constructed answer from the IRS by the end of 2018.
What the IRS appears to be maintaining is that cryptocurrencies are different. They show aspects of many things, like being both currency and security, while not confined to a stringent definition. Smart contracts are playing a role in keeping them flexible. This is how the world needs to operate in an open-ended Internet. It would not be surprising if the IRS submitted some authority to a new agency that specializes, not in the dynamics of hard currency, but of online transactions.
Emerging Companies in Crypto Realty
Real estate agents are reporting that buyers wish to pay in bitcoin. Open Listing is a site that makes it easy for consumers to find properties that accept cryptocurrencies. Some realtors have already begun openly accepting crypto transactions. Professionals within the industry see crypto transactions becoming more viable in the long term.
Three companies committed to developing a real estate cryptocurrency are CryptoProperties (CPROP), Evareium, and Slice Market. CryptoProperties wants to secure real estate transactions on the blockchain. From tokenized deeds to smart contract escrows, it aims to be a complete solution. The blockchain would verify transactions while users would rate service providers.
For the real estate investor, Evareium may be the best option. Its vision is to revitalize the sluggish global market. Similar to how cryptocurrencies empower small business, Evarium provides a point and click solution for enterprises. The company has already secured over 700 properties. Its five-year plan may seem ambitious in comparison to a traditional business model, but for the crypto space, it appears quite viable.
Slice Market is targeting the US market. It focuses on liquidity through enabling small investments. This brings new capital to real estate owners and operators. Another attractive aspect of this coin is the access to the type of returns usually known only by institutional investments. It also provides dividends and eases cross-border transactions. Several properties are listed on the website for both California and New York.
These three companies demonstrate a recent trend in the crypto space. That is one toward verticalization. Instead of direct competition, smart contracts have fostered solutions that seem to target the full range of each market. Such a trend could be life altering and solve many of the world problems as crypto solutions become more common.
Realtors who already Accept Cryptocurrencies
Realtor Magazine and Visa discussed the viability of cryptocurrencies and its potential widespread adoption. The conclusion they came to was it’s not a matter of if, but when. Even Visa, who previously discouraged bitcoin purchases, openly stated that it would accept crypto transactions if demanded by the market.
Open Listings is an online real estate database where you can search for sale properties that accept cryptocurrencies. Just enter the name of your preferred cryptocurrency (ie. Bitcoin) and Open Listings will return properties with information about cryptocurrency transactions. At the moment, most properties accepting Bitcoin will accept the others.
Currently, realtors who openly accept cryptocurrencies can be found in Florida, New York, and Texas. There is even a website named Bitcoin Real Estate. Its list of California properties can be found here. Sites like these are becoming more common.
Facilitating Independent Exchanges
Cryptocurrencies empower individuals by giving them more direct control over their digital transactions. The real estate market is no different. Smart contracts provide solutions for the regulatory and contractual nuances involved in real estate deals. Another way individuals benefit is from the new source of capital. Crypto buyers will often be coming from a network outside of the traditional realtor spectrum. New cryptocurrencies are changing the dynamic of databases used in this market. A focus on decentralization makes person to person transactions easier and more lucrative.
Currency Acceptance and Conversion
As the crypto market matures and consumers become more educated, the general public begins finding them easier to use. This is a big obstacle to their widespread adoption. Realtors can do a lot to encourage crypto transactions because real estate is seen as a fundamental aspect of life. In essence, it would bring cryptos to the dinner table.
Common discourse would soon dispel many of the myths about challenges in converting crypto from one coin to another. Many exchanges offer instant liquidity. As long as assets are moved to a dedicated wallet, they are secured from the type of hacks that made headlines over the years.
If you’re on the fence about the crypto markets, try replacing the word “cryptography” for “crypto”. After all, that is the essence of why so many tech-savvy investors are drawn to space. Cryptography is synonymous with security. With this in mind, reconsider the negative press. Often times you will find that those multimillion dollar hacks occurred on exchanges using the same type of traditional security methods that the public entrusts with current everyday transactions.
Dedicated crypto wallets are built around blockchain technologies. This is where your online coins are most safe. Even so, cold storage is the best practice. Look for this practice whenever a service requires holding your coins. It is also not that difficult to complete your own offline transaction signature to move your coins to a personal cold storage device, be it a USB, SD card or other method.
Crypto Use Case: An Easy Cabin Transaction
Sometimes getting off the grid means buying a log cabin. Other times buying a cabin is just what life calls for. In either case, if you’re wondering if you can buy a secluded residence with your cryptocurrency, just look over the sale of this property in a Pennsylvania wildlife meadow. You might decide to have a luxury log cabin built for you. A modern world does not necessitate being removed from nature. In fact, you might find that the advantages of cryptocurrencies are one of general empowerment. With the blockchain and smart contracts, you decide the outcome of your life.
The mood of the crypto space is changing. It is becoming more mature. But maturity does not mean compliance with outdated economic practices. Like the financial markets who often lead economic practices, cryptocurrencies are at the helm of innovation. Digital transactions have already been revolutionized. So has data storage. Established companies like IBM and Oracle, as well as, government (including the U.S. and China), have openly stated that they are developing their own blockchain projects.
With all this technological innovation, one is correct to expect a trend moving toward modernistic living. But while more common, technological living is not an absolute. Litecoin is not a real estate company, but its name demonstrates one of the moods that the crypto market is fostering. Cryptocurrencies represent the next stage in the Internet of Things because they change the fundamental aspect involved in online transactions. This makes them more secure while simultaneously opening them up to transparency. Ultimately, the concept of decentralized economies that empower direct transactions over administrative credit would profoundly influence the way human beings live in the near future.
Vicky Reddish works as the Marketing Coordinator for Riverwood Cabins . As the Marketing Coordinator, she executes marketing campaigns and strategies, primarily in the digital space.