4 April 2019

World's first live cryptocurrency property auction

REINSW Auctioneers Chapter Committee member and 2018 Communication Award finalist, James Pratt, is set to make history on Monday, 8 April 2019 when he becomes the first auctioneer in the world to conduct a live cryptocurrency real estate auction. The auction will also be a major milestone for Australia when it becomes the first country to be involved in live auctioneer auction with cryptocurrency.

Pratt, Founder and CEO of James Pratt Auctions Group, was asked to collaborate with international heavyweight blockchain corporation, NuYen, and cryptocurrency giants, Binance, to offer interested bidders the opportunity to purchase a luxury beachfront mansion exclusively using cryptocurrency – namely Bitcoin (BTC) or Binance Coin (BNB). The auction will be live-streamed and the use of Bitcoin or Binance Coin will effectively create a borderless payment system.

The property, located at 1 Beech Lane, Casuarina on the NSW North Coast, has been dubbed “the Jetsons house” because of its futuristic style and spaceship-like design, and comes with a price guide of 700–800 bitcoins, equivalent to AU$3.5 million.

Local listing agent, Nick Witheriff of LJ Hooker Kingscliff, says the response from international buyers has been enormous in the lead up to the auction.

"It’s been non-stop with enquirers from buyers across the world, from Asia to USA and China," he says.

The property

According to its realestate.com.au listing, the property is a stunning beachfront residence featuring futuristic-style defined by geometric shapes and bold use of glass, concrete and steel.

The 412m2 home is on an 841m2 north-facing block with 70 metres of automatic windows on the top level to enjoy uninterrupted views of the ocean. With Smeg appliances, a soccer pitch, 25 metre heated lap pool, outdoor shower, in-ground trampoline and covered alfresco entertaining terrace, the property lives up to its multi-million dollar price tag.

A new frontier for bitcoin

Globally, investors hold more than US$140.4 billion of wealth in cryptocurrency [1], with each single Bitcoin worth US$3883.38 [2].

"All this money in Bitcoin is stranded in some ways because it is hard to spend," says Greg Costello, President and COO of NuYen. "If you hold large amounts of Bitcoin you might feel rich, but your options for actually spending it can be limited. Until now, it has been hard to use Bitcoin to buy large assets like real estate."

Did you know? The only other person to try this was Paris Hilton's dad in 2018, however it was not an auctioneer-led auction.

On auction day, Instead of calling out the bids in dollars, Pratt will be calling the bids in Bitcoin. A large screen will display the current Bitcoin bid and its Australian-dollar equivalent. 

"If a buyer who does not own enough Bitcoin wins the auction, we can easily just convert their cash to Bitcoin for the transaction," says Costello.

This is not the first time Pratt has been a pioneer within real estate. In 2016 he was involved in Australia’s first live facebook auction and has been rapidly building a name within celebrity real estate in the USA.

"This is not about taking over the existing method of buying and selling real estate at auction," says Pratt. "Rather, it's about providing another option to consider when transacting real estate.

"There is an increasing number of buyers in international markets, such as Los Angeles, now making offers in cryptocurrency – even if the property is advertised in USD."

The auction is set to take place onsite on Monday, 8 April 2019 at 11am (AEST), with onsite bidders required to RSVP prior to the day.

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[1] CoinMarketCap data for 25 March 2019
[2] CoinMarketCap data for 15 March 2019