Bitcoin now accepted at real estate crowdfunding platform


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BY Saumya Vaishampayan

Investors can now put the virtual currency bitcoin in a decidedly un-virtual asset: real estate.

RealtyShares, a crowdfunding platform for real-estate investments, began accepting bitcoin on Tuesday. The service was launched last year and allows accredited investors to buy shares in private real-estate investments ranging from single-family homes to retail centers.

The push for bitcoin came from existing investors late last year, said Nav Athwal, co-founder and chief executive of RealtyShares. “Fifteen to 20% of our current investor base is global,” he said in an interview. “The process for them to transfer money to complete investments…is very daunting.”

RealtyShares works with San Francisco-based Coinbase to process bitcoin transactions and converts the virtual currency to U.S. dollars immediately to avoid exposure to volatility, said Athwal. Coinbase made waves in January when it partnered with Inc.  OSTK  to allow the online discount retailer to accept bitcoin payments.

To date, the RealtyShares platform has attracted more than $1 million in investments and funded 13 properties.  Bitcoin “makes it easier for money to flow through our system and allows investors to put bitcoin in a hard asset like real estate,” said Athwal.

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