Participants at the last Arcadia Association of REALTORS (AAR) in California received Bitcoins worth $1 as part of a talk about the technology on July 9.
The California trading company offers real estate services behind the scenes to real estate agents, including further education on topics related to the San Gabriel Valley. The event was the first of the organization to focus on the Bitcoin and its potential benefits for the real estate market.
According to Meson.re event organizer and CEO Ragnar Lifthrasir, his speech at the AAR focused on how the Bitcoin can be used for the lucrative international real estate market and how it can be applied to California.
With Meson.re, he said, his company is targeting Chinese investors to facilitate the purchase of real estate in the United States, and this service could be a prime example of how Bitcoin could play a greater role in the real estate industry in the future.
Lifthrasir said about Bitcoin formula:
“I think there is a [basic] understanding of the problem and why there is such Bitcoin formula demand in China. They understood Bitcoin formula immediately. You can buy [currently] in two ways, on the black market or on the grey market. The black market is that you know someone who knows someone, and the gray market is that I don’t know how it works, but the money comes in.”
With these two options, Chinese investors invested $22 billion in 2013. In 2011 it was $10 billion and that’s 25% of all US real estate purchases by foreign buyers. Many of these sales are still subject to complicated processes today, which could be simplified by the Bitcoin.
The AAR, for its part, looked with great interest at this development and its attractiveness in California real estate by Chinese buyers, although they themselves are not yet so familiar with the technology.
“Bitcoin is in the media and the news,” said Andre Cooper, AAR CEO. “We want to train our members in this area and show them how it can be used in the real estate market so that they can respond with the latest information as their customers ask for more information in this area.
The great opportunity for an audience of real estate marketers hoping for investors from China, he explained, lies in a Chinese law that allows a limit for money transfers only up to $50,000 per person per year, but this restriction does not yet apply to the Bitcoin.
Lifthrasir noted that his audience had been sympathetic to his message, but that he was sometimes asked difficult questions about whether the Bitcoin would provide the necessary funds for the customers.
For example, he stated that a subscriber asked him if the Bitcoin would possibly undermine the meaning of the law and whether this would therefore only be a temporary solution for Chinese buyers.
Lifthrasir, on the other hand, dispelled these concerns by using the Bitcoin recently to circumvent capital controls in Argentina, Greece and other critical countries.
“I wouldn’t call it a grey market, what we do is legal,” he said. “You can buy as much Bitcoin as you want and there are no problems with that. We want to help our clients buy Bitcoin and if they want to buy property with it, we help them to change it into dollars.
Lifthrasir called Bitcoin a better alternative to the current system and stressed that other alternatives could also be called loopholes.
“You don’t have to see us as a perfect option, you just have to compare us to the other options,” he said.
Even though Lifthrasir is not sure whether every participant will go home with a solid knowledge of the Bitcoin after the two-hour lecture, he expresses his optimism that this could be a visible solution to the current volatility of the Chinese market.
“When I left the presentation, I was discouraged, many of them didn’t understand what it was about,” he said. “[But] in recent weeks we have achieved through increased interest by their stock market as their ability to go out and into debt instruments has been frozen.”