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You can use Bitcoin to buy a house now

A 25 Bitcoin token (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
LISTEN: You can use Bitcoin to buy a house now

Although the idea of buying a house using Bitcoin might make many in the real estate business nervous, Ben Shaoul of Magnum Real Estate Group in Manhattan said his company and others are really warming up to the idea.

RELATED: Cryptocurrency has a few pitfalls to worry about

“Bitcoin is certainly volatile,” Shaoul told Dave Ross of Seattle’s Morning News. “We have a plan in place that works for us that kind of mitigates the risk or brings the risk down to a level where we’re comfortable with accepting Bitcoin for transactions.”

A Seattle-area man recently purchased a home using Bitcoin-like currency, KIRO 7 reported. Someone in Texas reportedly did the same. Shaoul explained why the process isn’t as anxiety-inducing or as risky as some might think.

“The initial deposit is the first step,” he said. “So let’s just say hypothetically on your $750,000, there’s a $75,000, ten percent deposit. We are accepting the Bitcoin. The Bitcoin must translate into $75,000. There are services obviously available to convert Bitcoin to dollars. The money runs through that service. The money is deposited.”

Sounds simple, and for the most part it is, Shaoul said. Buyers can even pay other purchase-related fees like pro-rated property taxes and partial power bills using their cryptocurrency.

Because Bitcoin transactions technically are not trackable, there are concerns about it being used in unlawful ways.

“I have heard all different types of stories,” Shaoul said. “I have some friends who are large financial traders who have made millions of dollars trading Bitcoin the same way they trade equities in the markets or bonds. Then I’ve heard also the flip side, which there is a black market and a use of cryptocurrency to do things which are criminal. We will not touch a transaction or will do business with anyone who we feel is the latter.”

And while Shaoul sincerely believes in Bitcoin, he doesn’t believe it will be the downfall of the banking system.

“I think certainly it’s going to catch on. It’s caught on already. I do not think banks are toast,” he said. “I think it’s going to come down to when the federal government accepts cryptocurrency or Bitcoin or any one of these currencies as a form of monetary payment. At which point they’ll step in and they’ll want to regulate currency and the currency markets.”

Cryptocurrency has grown exponentially in the past several years. In 2014, you could buy a Bitcoin for about $140. Today, a single one is worth a little over $11,000. And it’s not just the Bitcoins themselves that have grown. Companies are getting into the game as well.

“It’s building up. We heard about one cryptocurrency. Now we’re hearing about hundreds of cryptocurrencies. It’ll be exciting. It’ll be the evolution of cryptocurrency,” Shaoul said. “Like the evolution of the internet when I was in my early twenties, my forties will be the evolution of the cryptocurrency.”

Listen to the full interview with Ben Shaoul here.

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