One real estate agent is so excited about what cryptocurrency can do for the industry that she chose to convert her sales commission directly into it — but only for one deal, so far.
After successfully executing an investment property transaction on a two-bedroom family home, real estate agent Manuela Londono-Osorio of Culture Estate, a small real estate brokerage in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, accepted her commission check into her cryptocurrency wallet — an online system that allows you to convert dollars into popular cryptocurrencies such as ethereum and bitcoin, according to a story that was first uncovered by RealtorMag.com.
“I’m super excited that, at the end of the day, I’m a pioneer when it comes to being an agent paid in cryptocurrency,” Londono-Osorio told Inman.
After the brokerage got the payment in regular U.S. dollars, they transferred Londono-Osorio’s commission into her cryptowallet. She then decided to accept in the form of ethereum, one of the many popular cyptocurrencies available. She could also convert it into bitcoin or another type on the market.
But that’s not all Culture Estate hopes to do. The brokerage aims to incorporate digital currency into more of its property sales. Eventually, the company wants to have a transaction in which everyone involved — from the seller to the home inspector to the broker — is paid in cryptocurrency.
While the details of how such a transaction would work still need to be discerned, Londono-Osorio’s cryptocurrency commission seems to have gone off without a hitch.
“The first thing we did to get our foot in the door is pay our agent in cryptocurrency,” Culture Estate broker Luis Leiva told Inman.
The benefit to receiving certain kinds of payment in cryptocurrency is that it is transparent and available instantly instead of having to be cleared like a wire transfer, according to Londono-Osorio.
But as cryptocurrency fluctuates in value and is still in its infant stages, Londono-Osorio knows that accepting cryptocurrency instead of money is a risky move. The payment she receives could rise or fall in its conversion value to fiat currencies.
“I’m willing to take the risk right now to shine some light on it,” the agent, who first invested $1,000 in cryptocurrency while in college, said.
However, when it comes to future commissions, Londono-Osorio said she would not necessarily accept them all in cryptocurrency. “I told the broker ‘Pay me now,’ because right now [cryptocurrency is] on the low point and it can be used for more.”
While homes purchased with bitcoin are what most people associate with cryptocurrency in real estate, it is actually the blockchain technology underlying digital money that both Leiva and Londono-Osorio also see as having serious potential for the industry.
Blockchain, a ledger system distributed across thousands of computers, acts as an immutable record of transactions. Over the last few years, numerous startup companies have used blockchain to track real estate transactions and property titles.
As such, Culture Estate hopes to bring cryptocurrency into several aspects of its business model — both through the use of blockchain and by finding sellers willing to accept digital currency for property sales.
“Just like the .com, [cryptocurrency] is going to find its place until it becomes a staple,” Leiva said.