Investor Philipp Preuss’s newest favorite commodity is the virtual currency Bitcoin—in fact, he likes it so much he is willing to sell his Hamptons house for some.
He is giving buyers two options for purchasing the four-bedroom, two-bath home in Southampton: 799,000 in U.S. dollars or the equivalent in Bitcoin, which is 1,272 as of Friday afternoon and rapidly fluctuating.
Preuss works for U.K. broker and financial advisory house Peel Hunt, and he also trades on his own.
“I really started paying attention to Bitcoin when I saw venture capital investing in a company called Coinbase,” Preuss said. In May, Union Square Ventures invested in Coinbase, a Bitcoin digital wallet. “Smart money was going into it,” he said.
“I started buying some Bitcoins for myself and holding it very closely,” Preuss said. He admitted that volatility is not great for Bitcoin—”but it’s not surprising either… What is positive in my view is to see how fast Bitcoin usually snaps back after selloffs.”
He said the sale price of his house in Bitcoin will be based on the exchange rate on the day of closing. “I would be open to offering a Bitcoin buyer a bit of a discount, just because I’m keen on Bitcoin,” he added. Because Bitcoin makes transfers so simple, he said, the transaction could be over very quickly—a foreign buyer could have money in his account within 15 minutes.
There have only been a few properties worldwide that have been listed for Bitcoin. “I’m sure we will see more, because it makes a lot of sense for people who are open to the currency,” Preuss said.
He has only traded for Bitcoin, but he has met others who “mine” for Bitcoin. Mining involves using very powerful computers to be the first to unlock a new Bitcoin when it is released. He said the energy consumption required is too much for the average home and the mining equipment is mostly sold out. However, he mines for Litecoin, which is modeled after Bitcoin but capable of being mined by the average consumer.
“I like to idea of mining,” Preuss said. “I think Litecoin will do well going forward.”
Preuss, who is originally from Hamburg, Germany, bought the Southampton house in 2008 when he was living in Manhattan. Before that, he rented in Montauk. “I love it out there,” he said. But then his family moved from Manhattan to Stamford, Connecticut, and he doesn’t get out to the Southampton house anymore. “It has become too long of a drive.” So he decided to sell.
In addition to his fondness for Bitcoin, Preuss said accepting the currency will also help move his house. “If you want to sell your home, it’s still a buyers’ market, so I’m offering more choices.”