The NFT House on Florida’s Gulf Coast

Gulf Coast of Florida

A First for U.S. Real Estate

This year, the California real estate tech company Propy directed the first U.S. real estate NFT auction. The asset was a four-bedroom, 2-and-a-half bath house in Gulfport, on the western coast of central Florida. The Spanish-style building looks like many other Florida homes (readers may view a picture of the actual home by Josh Rojas for Spectrum Bay News 9 of Tampa). It sold for about $655K — which translates to about 210 Ethereum (ether) coins.  

The key parties to the transaction were:

  • Leslie A., the seller. Founder of DeFi Limited and a real estate investor.
  • Amanda J., the buyer. The new owner received a non-fungible token (NFT) encompassing the house title. This is a unique unit of data, etched on the blockchain as indelible proof of ownership.
  • A company named Never Forget to HODL LLC, which had been created to transfer the property rights.

What’s “never forget to HODL” about? Depending on who you ask, HODL is either a legendary typo made in a chat forum by a frazzled crypto owner, or the acronym for “hold on for dear life.” In any case, it’s well-known slang in the cryptocurrency world.

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Airbnb Could Decide to Accept Cryptocurrency in 2022

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Meanwhile, the Homesharing Platform Is Helping Homeowners in Ukraine

This might just be the year Airbnb meets bitcoin. A team of Airbnb employees is currently looking at how the platform could accept cryptocurrency payments. Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky has said the most requested feature for 2022 is a crypto payment option.

It’s likely to happen. Chesky has been tweeting since 2014 about Airbnb taking bitcoin. And other players in the short-term home rental world have already taken the plunge.

Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange. It has formed a blockchain-based homesharing service, Dtravel, with a presence at Travala.com. Blockchain-based Dtravel, which announces itself as the next evolution of homesharing, is decentralized — “community owned” and run by its participants, not by a company. That said, Dtravel is being guided through the process by people from established companies, including Airbnb.  

Dtravel charges less than Airbnb does, and the profits go back into Dtravel. This enables the project to hire developers and cover travel insurance for homeowners who rent out their properties. Spending decisions are made through community votes.

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Going All In: Why South Koreans Are Keen on Metaverse Real Estate

Person outside standing near a fence rail gazing over a bury city.

South Korea — renowned for its pop culture and a $16+ billion gaming sector — is perfectly poised to flourish in digitized worlds. K-pop singers have launched hits in the metaverse and real estate is popping up to host future concerts. Naver Z’s World, a metaverse leader based in South Korea, has attracted international fashion brands and individual creators alike to do business through its platform.

The South Korean government is acutely aware of the ramifications of all of the above. President Moon Jae-in’s administration is investing in the metaverse, encouraging interest in digital tourism and real estate.

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Sotheby’s International Realty Gives Its Blessing to the Metaverse

Image of houses near water showing their reflection much like an image in the metaverse.

A Miami mansion will become a first-of-a-kind this year. It will be sold as a real house, featuring seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms — together with its mirror property in the metaverse. The physical house will be sold by ONE Sotheby’s International Realty.

Sotheby’s International Realty has 1,000 offices in 40 countries, and is keen on innovation in the luxury real estate sphere. It’s part of Realogy Holdings Corp., which has had a franchise alliance with Sotheby’s since 2004. Sotheby’s, founded in Britain and headquartered in New York City, is the famous auction house for art and collectibles.

In 2021, blockchain-based tokens took the contemporary art world by storm. Sotheby’s was immediately drawn into the innovation, and became part of it. And now, with the Sotheby’s name giving its blessing to the metaverse market, investors in real estate and art are on notice. The rise of blockchain-based assets is not just a flash in the pan.

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Why Blockchain Real Estate Could Reach an Inflection Point in 2022

Image of the outside of a house with blue skies in the background and a light snow in the foreground

A Hint at Regulation to Come

No pain, no gain. The adage rings true at the gym, and it’s also an apt description for real estate transactions. Is any legal milestone loaded with more bureaucracy, more back-and-forth questions, more legions of intermediaries—all racking up fees for the documents they produce every step of the way?

There can be 500 people playing roles in a single property deal. In the digital era, does this make sense? Probably not for much longer.

Decentralized Finance, or DeFi, is a grand project to replace and improve upon traditional finance systems through the use of blockchain-based smart contracts, often supported by the Ethereum blockchain. Blockchain-based smart (self-executing) contracts could create far more efficient real estate transactions. For example, escrow accounts may be redundant if funds are released automatically as soon as the corresponding obligation is met.

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Buying Homes in Argentina…With Cryptocurrency?

Image of part of the Argentina flag with a bitcoin representation in front of it.

Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are becoming money in Argentina.

In May 2021, the massive e-commerce firm Mercado Libre started enabling people to buy Argentina real estate with bitcoin. At that time Argentina’s real property could only be paid for in U.S. dollars. For the price of two bitcoins, a buyer could get a place to live in Buenos Aires.

More recently, Tienda Crypto (the Crypto Shop) has enabled a building developer to accept cryptocurrency for the homes it’s producing for a real estate firm, as Federico Goldberg, CEO of Tienda Crypto, told ForbesAR.

According to statistics from international exchanges, Argentina is one of the hotspots for cryptocurrency transactions today. Let’s take a look at what’s going on.

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Crypto at the Beach: Puerto Rico’s Blockchain Buzz

Image of a coastal area in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is welcoming residents from the mainland in record numbers. For years running, financial tech startups have set up headquarters in Puerto Rico, so the growing list of newcomers from the mainland reads like part of the tech sector who’s-who list. The big draw? A law that lets new residents pay nothing on capital gains from the assets they acquire after establishing residency.

Now, following Bitcoin’s big run in 2021, the Puerto Rico tax savings are impressive — for those in the position to benefit.

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Bitcoin for Mortgages and Down Payments

Fannie and Freddie Weigh In

Image of a person holding a smartphone in front of a computer screen looking at digital charts on both screens.

The future is here. People now buy homes with bitcoin. Some of the most upmarket real estate listings accept top cryptocurrencies and even showcase blockchain-based digital art inside the home. (The art concept is pretty intriguing. People buying digital art as part of a home could build massive collections of and rotate the individual pieces with a click of an iPhone.)  

Most people who have the digital assets to buy, furnish, and decorate a home, though, do this after converting the coins to cash, and making a cash offer.

What about working with lenders? Will they understand, say, bitcoin as a legitimate asset of the cryptocurrency investor who wants it counted when seeking a loan approval? Let’s get into all of this now.

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Virtual Real Estate: Buying a Piece of the Metaverse

Person wearing a virtual headset

Time to Get Meta?

In October 2021, Facebook changed its name in homage to the metaverse. By combining real and online worlds, the metaverse, says Facebook, will be “the next evolution in a long line of social technologies.” 

So this is why Facebook has been suggesting that people make all those cartoonish avatars of ourselves? Similar elements feature in Roblox and other online game concepts. Now, Facebook plans to hire 10,000 people in Europe to help its proprietary metaverse get out in front.

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