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Lake Tahoe real estate deal breaks the bank… in bitcoin

Bitcoin purchase trumps Bali villa as largest on record

The record for the most expensive real estate purchase to be paid for in Bitcoin lasted all of five months.

In March, a fully managed villa in Bali, Indonesia sold for more than $500,000 in bitcoin. At the time, it was believed to be the largest bitcoin-funded purchase of real estate in history.

Now, a posh Lake Tahoe, California community has broken the record with a land sale for $1.6 million in bitcoin (in photo, above).

Martis Camp, which bills itself as “North Lake Tahoe’s premier luxury real estate community,” has sold a 1.4-acre home-building site to an undisclosed buyer for $1.6 million worth of the virtual currency.

“Many of our buyers are in the tech-sector and are early adopters of bitcoin,” Martis Camp Sales Director Brian Hull said. “We understand the importance of adapting to cutting edge purchasing methods, including the use of virtual currencies.”

For the $1.6 million in bitcoin, the unknown buyer will get the 1.4-acre home site in the Martis Camp’s Lodge Estates section. Martis Camp itself is a private, gated community that is spread across 2,177 acres. Its residents have private ski access in the winter and access to a Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole golf course in the warmer months.

The picture below is a custom home built in the Martis Camp community.Martis camp bitcoin house

The community also features a bowling alley, art loft, movie theater, indoor basketball court, soda fountain and outdoor performance amphitheater, plus an 18-hole putting park, sporting fields, spa, 26 miles of private hiking trails and a private mountain clubhouse at the base of Lookout Mountain.

All that for only $1.6 million in bitcoin, in a transaction that Hull called “simple.”

“An invoice was sent and the buyer’s bitcoin was easily transferred into U.S. dollars to complete the sale,” Hull said. “We now welcome the opportunity to work with buyers and their bitcoin through the Bitpay service.”

Bitpay is a service that converts the digital currency into actual hard currency.

For those new to digital currency, Bitcoins are a long series of incredibly complex, military-grade encrypted alphanumeric characters that can be stored on a piece of paper, in a digital wallet or on an individual computer.

Bitcoin is subject to wild fluctuations in value as its value is based purely on supply and demand, unlike the dollar and other national currencies that have fiat value or are pegged to precious metals.

As of the time of this writing, a single bitcoin is valued on most exchanges at around $547.

But purchases involving bitcoin are becoming more commonplace. Larger online merchants like TigerDirect.com, Overstock.com and Newegg.com all accept bitcoin currently.

Bitcoin’s place in the real estate transaction is still relatively new, but it is growing. It’s also a topic that’s been on HousingWire’s radar for some time.

The March issue of our print magazine includes a story on the first real estate and real estate financial firms in North America to accept Bitcoin for everything from broker fees to actual investment.

The watershed moment for real estate may have come in early February, when the nascent startup RealtyShares in San Francisco announced it would be the first, as far as anyone can know, real estate investment firm to accept Bitcoin for its crowdfunding real estate investment platform.

And now that bitcoin has broken the million-dollar barrier in real estate, the sky may be the limit.

What’s next for bitcoin in the real estate world? Well, records were made to be broken.

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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