A Toronto home owner and a former Wall Street trader-turned-broker have taken the first step in likely establishing Bitcoin as a viable method of selling residential real estate in Canada.
Derryn Shrosbree, who owns 6 properties, has placed his Mississauga condo for sale for 35 Bitcoin, which was worth $445,000 at the time the unit went up in the market on late February. Shrosbree has previously discussed the idea with several other agents, but only real estate agent Brett Starke seemed to understand the significance of listing a property’s sale price in Bitcoin.
“It’s the first Bitcoin sale (of a condo) that’s been done in Toronto, period,” Starke told the Toronto Star. “It’s definitely the first in Ontario that’s been listed for Bitcoin.”
An offer was made on the condo on Mach 1 at its most recent list price of 33 Bitcoin (which at the time was worth roughly $443,000). Starke confirmed they have accepted the offer and the condo is considered “conditionally sold.”
Starke said they will be meeting with a bitcoin company to establish an “action plan” for the exchange of money. The final selling price will only be revealed once all conditions have been fulfilled.
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The Real Estate Council of Ontario is still in the process of examining the use of cryptocurrencies in property transactions.
“While we recognize the merits of new forms of currency in the age of evolving digital commerce, RECO, as a regulatory body, must ensure that all business transactions between consumers and real estate salespeople, brokers, and brokerages, adhere to the Real Estate Business and Brokers Act,” registrar Joseph Richer said.
“However, RECO does not regulate buyers and sellers, and if a transaction were to occur between two parties without the involvement of a brokerage, it would be outside of RECO’s purview to determine the legality or feasibility of that transaction.”
Cryptocurrencies are currently not considered legal tender in Canada, although they are legally allowed in private sales between individuals. The Bank of Canada has previously warned that cryptocurrencies can be “risky investments” due to their inherent volatility, a point that does not deter Shrosbree.
“I’m fine with volatility. I like risk. I understand volatility. So it doesn’t really worry me,” he said, adding that a cryptocurrency sale remains risky for both the buyer and seller.
“It’s totally going to revolutionize the way we pay for and buy stuff,” Shrosbree stated. “I just happen to be an early adopter.”