Philipp Preuss of Southampton is currently selling his home. He’s had it on the market since late last year. While accepting analog forms of payment like cash is always encouraged, Preuss is open to getting paid in Bitcoin, as well.
What’s a “Bitcoin?” A Bitcoin is essentially a digital currency, created by a hacker (or hackers, since nobody knows for sure) named “Satoshi Nakamoto,” which, of course, is an alias. Bitcoins aren’t currently regulated by anything but market demand, though outgoing Fed chairman Ben Bernanke was open to the idea of regulating the currency. Bitcoins are also incredibly volatile, with the value of a single Bitcoin being worth $500 one day to $1,200 another.
I’m a little obsessed with Bitcoin at the moment. It’s a fascinating concept and is being accepted as a means of payment by more and more outlets and retailers every day. Popular sites like Reddit, OkCupid and many others currently accept the currency, with more on the immediate horizon, including Overstock.com.
“I’m a big fan of Bitcoin,” Preuss said. “In May of this year, when Coinbase got their venture capital money, I thought there had to be something to this. I just thought I’d open the purchase of my home to a larger audience. Maybe international people who are more inclined to buy something with Bitcoin. There are some young kids out there mining Bitcoin. I don’t mind the volatility of the currency.”
There are other parts of the country that currently accept Bitcoin for real estate transactions. There’s a condo development in New Jersey that accepts the currency for its newly constructed homes, for example. I was curious what the general reaction was to Preuss wanting to sell his home using the semi-controversial currency.
“There have been some nibbles, I’m still waiting to hear. My broker hasn’t had any specific requests related to the Bitcoin news, but I’ve been surprised by how many outlets picked the story up, in terms of media,” Preuss said. “Initially, I had to explain to my broker what Bitcoin is. He had heard of it but he didn’t know how it works. I’m not sure he understands it now, either, actually.”
I’ve known folks who’ve picked up a few Bitcoins since the currency began picking up steam. Like the true moron I am, I failed to buy a single Bitcoin for $48 when it was offered to me months ago from a journalist buddy of mine. A single Bitcoin (as of the time of this writing) is worth around $710, however; an individual can choose to offload a Bitcoin for whatever price they wish.
“Zillow, for example, doesn’t account for the neighborhood. The reason for my price tag is because the house is right on the water, I’m open to any bids, I only listed it in mid-October, it’s the perfect family getaway right on Big Fresh Pond,” Preuss said. “It’s great because the kids can sail, there’s great fishing. I love it, but unfortunately, it’s too far away for me and my family, so we had to move to Connecticut. I’m happy to give a discount if you pay in Bitcoin, so, bring it on!”
The beauty of using Bitcoin is the simplicity in verifying a transaction. Say Preuss does, in fact, sell his home for Bitcoins. He could then check his online “wallet,” which is exactly what it sounds like, then, if the money is there, he signs over the home to the new buyer and both parties walk away happy. “It’s easy to be sure to check where Bitcoins come from,” Preuss said. “You don’t even need to involve the bank anymore. The Bitcoins can be wired into an account, once it’s verified, send over the title and you go home. Real simple.”
Preuss admits that not everyone around him has been receptive to the Bitcoin idea, but it’s been a brilliant stroke of marketing savvy on his end. Bitcoin is hot right now, and with multiple outlets reporting on his openness to the cryptocurrency, his name has become synonymous with it.
“In general, people just aren’t informed about Bitcoin,” Preuss said. “You can tell by how old someone is what their reaction is going to be. Older people don’t get it, but younger people are open to it. At the end of the day, I’m open to whatever. If you’re a hacker with Bitcoin in Russia or China, make me an offer.”