The sale of a luxurious Miami penthouse is making headlines not just for its tasteful interiors and high price but for the currency involved in the transaction. The developers of the building, Alex Sapir and Giovanni Fasciano, accepted payment for the 5,067-square-foot, ninth-floor unit entirely in cryptocurrency.
As first reported by Forbes, the lower penthouse unit of Sapir’s Arte by Antonio Citterio in the Surfside neighborhood sold for $22.5 million at the end of May. The buyer, who is shielded by confidentiality agreements, paid such a large sum for the apartment not in dollars but in cryptocurrency — although whether it was Bitcoin, Ethereum, another form of cryptocurrency or a combination of several is also being kept under tight wraps.
The apartment is part of the development’s ostentatious style and boasts a wine tasting bar, walk-in closets and a 2,960-square-foot wraparound terrace.
The sale of the ninth-floor unit, a four-bedroom lower penthouse of the 12-story building, makes it the largest recorded cryptocurrency transaction in the United States to date. As part of a partnership with blockchain and securities trading platform SolidBlock, Sapir and Fasciano have opened the possibility for buyers to pay for units in the building, which was completed last year.
The deal closed in 10 days, a short period of time even for non-crypto real estate deals.
“Our primary intention was to welcome new cryptocurrency holders to the luxury real estate market and provide them with an opportunity to transact,” Sapir told Forbes. “By being the first new development project to accept cryptocurrency in Miami, we tapped into an avalanche of pent-up demand, and inked a $22.5 million deal only two weeks after announcing our ability to facilitate these transactions.”
While the sale is notable for its size alone, cryptocurrency has been making its way into real estate since at least 2014. In 2018, one New Jersey agent even accepted the commission of a real estate sale in cryptocurrency while a recent Rhode Island house was the first in the country to be paid for in Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency inspired by a popular doge meme.
Over the past three years, discussions around how cryptocurrency can change the industry have amplified, with countless startups promising to use blockchain technology for everything from lead generation to inventory tracking.
“We saw an opportunity to attract a huge network of new wealth that has been waiting for a real-world asset worth investing cryptocurrency in,” Fasciano told Forbes. “History has proven that new wealth holders always turn to real estate as a way to preserve their wealth — as well as their legacy — for the long term, so we expected that the world’s newest cryptocurrency millionaires and billionaires would naturally share this same logic.”