To start, what is cryptocurrency?
“A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency designed to work as a medium of exchange. It uses cryptography to secure and verify transactions as well as to control the creation of new units of a particular cryptocurrency.” – Cointelegraph
That’s about as simple as it gets, even if it isn’t that simple. For our purposes, what’s most important to remember is that it’s a virtual currency that can be used to purchase physical assets. Furthermore, because it’s unregulated, it allows holders far more opportunities to invest where they otherwise wouldn’t be able to – think of foreign property buyers who must face regulations both in their home nations and markets abroad. There is a possibility of this leading to illicit deals, but that’s another story entirely.
Because the cryptocurrency is purely digital, it has no intrinsic value and is extremely volatile. However, that hasn’t stopped investors from pouring millions into the market, and new coins being created almost every day. It has led to an increasing number of agencies taking the risk of accepting it as payment for rent or purchase of properties. In South Africa, a small but growing number of agencies are also jumping on the bandwagon.
In June 2016, real estate agency Devler Estates became the first in the country to start accepting Bitcoin as a method of payment. At the time, Managing Principal Andre de Villiers said the following, “Bitcoin is gaining momentum all over the world, and with the Rand being so volatile it is likely to attract increasing attention in South Africa. It’s yet another example of Bitcoin increasingly becoming a real alternative currency and going mainstream in South Africa.”
Just over a year later Dreamblock (formerly ProsperiProp), a global real estate investment platform, threw its hat into the ring with the introduction of two crypto coins and the promise of low-level investment opportunities which combined traditional real estate investing and modern blockchain technology.
Are these pointing towards a trend? Only time will tell, but whether you believe the hype or not, and whether cryptocurrency will continue to grow as it has or fade into obscurity, the fact is there’s an opportunity to convert the digital currency into legitimate physical assets, and that’s nothing to scoff at.
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