Bitcoin is continuing its rise to stardom, as real estate has become the latest hot property – literally – to be bought with the cryptocurrency.
A flat in Glasgow’s south side has become the first in Scotland to be bought with the digital currency rather than pounds Sterling. The two-bedroom apartment located on Bridge Street was bought by Corby entrepreneur Peter McGowan last week for 10 million Scotcoin – the equivalent of £60,000.
McGowan told the Herald: “It’s something that didn’t cost a lot of money. It’s a long-term punt.” This is likely because his seller was the owner of the Scotcoin IP, Glasgow businessman David Low. The two are close friends and colleagues, and both invested in Scotcoin after the currency’s launch in 2014.
The transaction, however, was still subject to the same procedures as any other in Glasgow. Low said: “Peter wanted a flat and I wanted more Scotcoin, so we’re both happy. We commissioned a Home Report, which gave us the fair value of the flat in Sterling, which we translated into Scotcoin on the day of sale.”
McGowan said: “And because it’s not my principal home it’s subject to the Scottish Government’s Land Buildings and Transactions Tax, meaning that I will be paying 3%, £1800, into their coffers.”
The pair believe that transactions similar to this could see cryptocurrencies burst onto the mainstream. There have already been real estate sales in the United States. One Florida mansion is now on offer for the digital equivalent of $6.4 million. A £2,000 investment in Bitcoin five years ago would make that investor a millionaire today. If that same £2,000 had been invested only last December the investor could expect a return of 500% over their original payment.
Governments have now begun to take official notice of the currency, increasing its value exponentially. The government of Japan officially recognised Bitcoin back in April by passing legislation to make it a legal method of payment. And earlier this month a company co-owned by one of President Vladimir Putin’s advisors announced plans to raise the value of the cryptocurrency to as much as $100 million in a challenge to Chinese Bitcoin mining operations.
The currency, despite its bumps and scrapes, is also becoming more legitimised in the UK. All cryptocurrency transactions take place from person to person with no intermediary. These movements are stored in a public ledger, called a blockchain. In the UK for example, investors cannot purchase more than £100 worth of Scotcoins per week without revealing their identity to authorities to abide by UK money laundering laws.
Bitcoins can be bought through a number of online brokers using PayPal, and Scotcoin can be purchased here.