Lake Tahoe Property Sells for $1.6 Million in Bitcoins

laketahoepropertybitcoin08 Aug 2014 / WSJ – A Lake Tahoe property sold Thursday for $1.6 million—in bitcoins.

The property is one of just a handful of residential real estate transactions in months that have used virtual currency—and potentially a record in terms of price. The price in bitcoins was 2,739.

The 1.4-acre acre home site has views of the Pacific Crest, a surrounding mountain range. It is located in Martis Camp, a private luxury recreational resort in Truckee, Calif. The 2,177-acre resort, near Lake Tahoe’s north shore, has a Tom Fazio golf course, a 44-seat movie theater and an “aerial adventure park” with rope courses and a zip line.

Brian Hull, Martis Camp’s director of sales, said the buyer was a “Silicon Valley entrepreneur,” but declined to disclose his name. He said the buyer purchased the land through a trust, and plans to build a home on the site.

The idea to pay for the Tahoe property with bitcoins came from the buyer, said Mr. Hull. “When we originally heard the idea of bitcoin, everybody had a little pause,” he said. “We weren’t educated at how the transaction would go.”

The digital currency was introduced in 2009 and isn’t backed by a central bank or government. It can be created by a computer process known as “mining” and traded online through unregulated Internet exchanges. The value of bitcoins, which began at just pennies, has fluctuated over the past few years. The price of a bitcoin topped $1,100 in late 2013, but is now around $590 on the CoinDesk Bitcoin Index and can shift significantly throughout the day.

BitPay, an online-merchant processor that operates similarly to PayPal or Worldpay, handled the Tahoe transaction. Stephanie Wargo, BitPay’s vice president of marketing, said about 85% of the site’s merchants are online retailers. Teslas and Lamborghinis have also been purchased with bitcoins through the site…… Read more

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