“The Packer House” would be the dream party home for any diehard cheesehead. The three-bedroom home is located directly adjacent to Lambeau Field, perfect for generations of tailgators in green and yellow — all for the low price of $1 million. There’s just one catch: you must pay in cryptocurrency.
As a kid growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Chris Murphy — who became a millionaire as an early employee of Facebook — fit that “diehard Packer fan” description perfectly. So it was fitting he used part of his fortune to purchase one of just seven homes with a backyard adjacent to the Lambeau Field Parking Lot. Now the home is up for sale (Murphy spends half of the year in Bali and the other half in southern California).
In a first for homes in the United States, however, the property must be purchased on a blockchain — the name for the distributed, multi-computer, internet-based ledger technology that underpins bitcoin and many other digital currencies. This milestone comes thanks to a partnership between Murphy and Propy, a blockchain startup that markets itself as a way to streamline and safeguard international real estate transactions.
Murphy’s goal with the listing is simple: to educate the public that cryptocurrency has a use beyond long-term investment.
“I want people to start using the blockchain technology for more than just a way to do day trading to make some money off of whether bitcoin goes up that day or not,” Murphy said. “And I thought the way to do that is to take real world items to purchase and start using [it] in a real world way.”
Other properties in the U.S. have been sold in exchange for cryptocurrencies. However, what makes the Packer House unique is that Murphy wants the entire transaction to happen digitally on the blockchain system — the close, the title transfer, the record of purchase. All of these steps, which are still completed through paper forms for the vast majority of real estate purchases, will take place on Propy’s blockchain network, which is built on the ethereum cyptocurrency standard.
The Packer House was the perfect pilot property because of how desirable it is, Murphy said. He believes it will sell in a few months and said he’s already received offers in U.S. dollars close to the asking price — but this sale is more about the education than profit.
“I’m going to take the proceeds from the sale of this house and invest them into different blockchain technologies,” Murphy said. “And I’m going to give away the first $1 million in profits from [that investment] to various charities.”
Murphy chose Propy as a partner because he believed it was the leader in how to complete a sale in the blockchain.
“There’s other real estate companies out there that will figure out a way to take bitcoin as a payment, but what we’re trying to do with Propy is complete the entire process on the blockchain itself,” he said.
Propy has employees that act like a listing agent, Murphy explained, so they’ll be marketing the home and fielding inquiring phone calls.
“In my eyes they’re acting as an agent, as well as a platform for me,” Murphy said.
Propy is no stranger to the blockchain homebuying market. Last year, the startup launched a service that allows for the transfer of title deeds through blockchain — since the ledger is unchangeable, the veracity of any deed transfer through the service will be set in digital stone.
“Every property transfer in the U.S. is a protracted, messy process with dozens of middlemen — each adding thousands of dollars on top of the initial property price,” a spokesperson for Propy told Inman in an interview. “Could changing the way we pay make homebuying as simple as pressing a few buttons?”
Earlier this year, the company facilitated the purchase of an apartment in Ukraine by one of its prominent backers, Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch. Propy claimed Arrington’s purchase was the world’s first real estate transaction recorded on the blockchain.
Propy raised $15 million from purchases of its digital PRO tokens in September and recently expanded its property purchase/real estate investment service into China and the Ukraine — joining San Francisco, New York, Dubai, Moscow, Los Angeles, Miami and London.
The Packer House listing marks a potential new trend in home purchasing, especially as the popularity of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology becomes increasingly more popular and trusted by consumers. In September, a Texas home was purchased with bitcoin, which many saw as a sign that the technology was creeping further into the mainstream.
So Packers fans, ready to open that digital wallet? Check out the full listing and photos of the home.