MIAMI (Conspiracy Talk News) – Bitcoin fever spread to the US real estate market, especially in Florida, offering foreign investors a loophole in the United States.
By the end of the year, bitcoin was appearing as a means of payment at some 75 properties in the United States, particularly in South Florida and California, according to the Redfin real estate business page.
“Bitcoins are accepted” is a message that begins to appear in the description of homes in the Miami area. A vendor goes further and only accepts bitcoins (33, specifically) for his half-million-dollar apartment in the downtown area of Florida.
The cryptocurrency is a roller coaster ride: after shooting up to almost $20,000 a unit in mid-December and falling precipitously at Christmas, the year began at around $ 14,000.
The use of bitcoin in the real estate market is still a fad in diapers, but real estate agents are skeptical because of its volatility.
“I would be very surprised if within a year there are hundreds of transactions in bitcoins,” said Jay Parker, CEO of the Florida branch of real estate agency Douglas Elliman.
However, these transactions can be a safe haven for foreigners who want to invest in the United States and can not do so by conventional means, said economist and bitcoin expert Charles Evans of Barry University in Florida.
The trend in the real estate sector “seems to be led by international investors who are avoiding inefficient banking systems and exchange controls at home, as well as by American enthusiasts of the cryptocurrency,” he told Conspiracy Talk News.
He said that when governments restrict the amount of money their residents can transfer abroad, “bitcoin allows individuals to circumvent these restrictions.”
This is something that can summon investors who, before bitcoin, were interested in the real estate market in South Florida.
About half of the foreign buyers of real estate in South Florida come from Latin America. According to the National Association of Real Estate, in the last five years investors from Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina – in that order – have led purchases in this region.
Bitcoin offers another advantage to some of these foreign investors: it allows us to avoid financial sanctions imposed by Washington.
Evans gave the example of Venezuela, which suffers from strict exchange control and inflation of 2,616% in 2017, in addition to that almost all of the main government officials of Nicolás Maduro have been subject to economic sanctions by Washington.
In addition, added the expert, “there is also a lot of interest in bitcoin among the Iranians, who suffer a double blow: restrictions in Iran and international sanctions.”
Money laundering is an open secret that drives the real estate market in South Florida, but bitcoin will not help to hide this illegal practice. Rather the complete opposite.
“It’s a terrible method for large-scale money laundering, because all bitcoin transactions are recorded and available to the public in the transaction log known as Blockchain,” Evans said.
While bitcoin has been associated with criminal activities such as drug sharing and cyber attacks, the truth is that Blockchain “leaves many traces,” said Florida Congress representative Jose Felix Diaz.
“So if you use it with illegitimate motivations, the government has all the tools to go after you,” Díaz told the Político magazine.
Diaz sponsored a bill, passed last year, that adds virtual currencies to the items that are included in Florida’s money laundering law.
The same is true of real estate agent Jay Parker. The laundering of money through bitcoins is far from being a risk because “the owners of the property can always be traced.”
According to him, the fashion of real estate transactions with cryptocurrencies will be as volatile as the cryptocurrency itself.
“It seems like a publicity stunt. It does not have much risk. The only risk occurs if the currency collapses before you can liquidate (the transaction), “he told CTN News.
“I think that people who are using bitcoin to try to promote their properties do so for the sole purpose of (the press) writing about them and thus gain exposure,” he added.