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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When Ciro Fodere listed his condo at Platinum for sale, within hours his listing went viral in social media.
“The first thing I heard was I was trending on twitter. A friend of mine told me,” Fodere recalls.
What was the big deal? His price. 33 bitcoins. No cash or checks.
“I thought cool,” Fodere said. “I went to sleep and the next morning Eduardo (his realtor) called me and said I’m getting tons of calls and emails and we got together and his phone was non-stop.”
Most of the calls were from reporters interested in learning more. One call though was Ciro’s dad.
“My dad didn’t want to talk to me about it. He didn’t want to talk to me. He was mad,” Fodere said.
Mad because it was a huge gamble.
A look at the price of bitcoin over the last 30 days shows a wild ride.
When Fodere listed at 33 bitcoins it equaled about $525,000. Perhaps $200,000 more than the condo would likely sell for in cash. That was on purpose.
“Yeah it was listed a little bit higher because like I said we wanted to cover ourselves,” Fodere admitted.
Good thing because over the last 30 days bitcoin dropped 40%.
Fodere’s realtor admits it made making a deal really hard.
Justino Ferret with United Realty Group estimates he had a lot of interest.
In the end though, “We had two offers,” he said.
One offer came in Bitcoin and another came in a competing cryptocurrency called Ripple.
Both currencies dropped 50% over the last month.
Fodere told CBS4, “We were very close. We had talked to lawyers. We had agreed on the terms.”
But the price ranged between $500,000 at peak and $300,000 at bottom. Ultimately that kind of volatility killed their bit-condo deal.
Condo real estate specialist Lucas Lechuga, who operates Miami Condo Investments, isn’t surprised.
“I think right now it’s sellers and real estate agents taking advantage of all the media hype and everyone kinda knows that you through the word bitcoin into a property listing it’s going to get media attention… we do not know yet if that translates into more transactions. I think the jury is still out on that,” Lechuga said.
Lechuga says most real estate professionals are intrigued but in practice it’s the wild west.
Buying a home with cryptocurrency that could be worth 50% less or 50% more in 30 days is as wild as it gets.
“Real estate traditionally is low risk,” Lechuga said. “It’s a great storer of wealth. And you mix it with bitcoin and it’s just the opposite as of late. I don’t know how to answer your question. I think it’s a bad recipe.”
While he believes in the long-term bitcoin may become a viable payment method for a condo he is suspicious of what is motivating buyers and sellers to use only bitcoin.
Could bitcoin’s anonymity be fueling downtown sales?
“The allure of being able to hide wealth and keep it secret. It goes hand and hand with real estate. Especially here in Miami. We’ve had a historic past of people doing some shady transactions. A lot of our city has been built on that kind of money,” Lechuga said.
Time will certainly tell. In the meantime Fodere is changing his position.
When asked if someone is willing to give him $500,000 in cash what we he do he smiled real big.
“I’d sell it!”
He admits he may not be able to sell his apartment for bitcoin.
It’s just too early. Perhaps too volatile.
In which case he plans to move into the apartment.
A decision he says he’ll make sometime in February.