Derryn Shrosbree’s ideal real estate deal involves no agents, no lawyers or other intermediaries. In his mind’s eye, there is just a buyer, a seller and a lot of Bitcoin.
So in February, Shrosbree listed his two-bedroom Mississauga condominium for 35 bitcoins – about CDN$445,000 at the time — on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Within a week, he got an offer. But to his disappointment, the buyer – who was completely unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies — wanted to pay the old fashioned way, in Canadian dollars.
“The settlement is unfortunately in cash,” said Shrosbree, who has nevertheless arranged to have the payment converted to Bitcoin before he receives it. “As per every new technology and every new thing that comes down the pipe there’s going to be various stages where it’s still a bit clunky.”
Though Shrosbree hasn’t given up – he says he’ll soon list two more properties for Bitcoin — his experience demonstrates some of the current challenges to using cryptocurrencies in real estate transactions.
For one thing, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are wildly volatile. The value of a single Bitcoin sometimes fluctuates by 10 per cent or more within days or even hours, adding significant complexity to a standard property transaction.