A $1.75 million home at 93 Wedgewood Road in Newark is the first property in Delaware to accept Bitcoins as a form of payment. Michael Kelczewski, a real estate broker for Sotheby's International Realty, first proposed opening the deal to Bitcoin about six months ago as a way to raise the profile of the listing and create new avenues for purchase.
"I figured it would generate traction or an international buyer perhaps," Kelczewski said. "We were attempting to expand our awareness."
The house sits on a 4.2-acre property and boasts amenities such as a five-car garage, backyard pool, wrapping staircase and marbled bathroom. Kelczewski said accepting Bitcoin will help raise awareness of the property among wealthy potential buyers who have invested money into cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
"It opens up networking to individuals who are wealthy, and it streamlines transactions," Kelczewski said.
Kelczewski spoke with multiple attorneys and higher-ups at Sotheby's before moving forward. "They were on keen on it," he said, but they needed to get all the details.
Not everyone is sold on the potential of cryptocurrencies. The Delaware Department of Justice's Investor Protection Unit issued a warning to investors earlier this month to use caution with these new financial products.
"Investors should make certain they understand the risks associated with investments in cryptocurrencies and financial products involving cryptocurrency before they invest," said Director of Investor Protection Greg Strong.
Cryptocurrencies have also fluctuated in value in recent weeks, leading some to speculate that the popular digital coin could drop in value precipitously over the coming year.
Kelczewski said you have to look long-term to get a better sense of where cryptocurrencies are heading. The value of Bitcoin, for instance, rose from $0.01 cents per coin in 2010 to $16,000 in early December 2017. Its value dropped going into 2018, but Kelczewski said he is confident the upward trend will continue.
Kelczewski isn't the only real estate broker optimistic about cryptocurrencies. Sheryl Lowe, a fellow Sotheby's broker based in Texas, finalized a Bitcoin sale last summer. She said the law differs across states, but that she's confident cryptocurrencies will become more common in real estate transactions.
"I think we are going to see more and more of it," Lowe said. "This is just the beginning."