Canary Islands Villa, Yours for 525 Bitcoins
A luxury property in the Canary Islands is up for sale. No, this doesn't sound like news, but there's an important and unusual detail: the five-bedroom villa in the lofty hills of La Caleta, Tenerife, is being sold for 525 Bitcoins (approximately €3.2 million).
But why would someone exchange a near 2,700 square metre plot, comprised of house, swimming pool, gardens, Atlantic views and palm-lined outdoor eating area, for a "virtual currency"?
We have long been told that Bitcoin is a bubble that's going to burst, so surely exchanging such a valuable asset for an unstable and unregulated "pseudo currency" is financial madness of the most extreme kind. There are certainly detractors of the currency, such as Warren Buffet, who would argue this point. Perhaps the vendor's expat financial advisers in the Canary Islands should reach straight for the phone to dissuade him from such a move?
But Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency available, it is just the most widely used. Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin and are some of the other digital currency offerings. And whereas critics of cryptocurrencies have Buffet onside, advocates can point to Bill Gates as a fan because he believes they represent the future.
Cryptohomes, which is behind the luxury villa sale, certainly believe in Bitcoin.
"Since our launch of CryptoHomes.io we have attracted a satisfying amount of attention from across the globe," said a spokesperson for the firm.
"Both from potential buyers and from homeowners and real estate agencies interested in listing luxury properties on our site."
Whatever the case, sales like this demonstrate that Bitcoin is increasingly viewed as a legitimate currency, although regulatory threats, dramatically fluctuating prices and general uncertainty make them something of a grey area as well as a real headache-inducing conundrum for expat financial advisers, not just in the Canary Islands but right across the world.
It is only recently (10 October) that the IMF warned rapid growth of cryptocurrencies could lead to "new vulnerabilities in the international financial system". But the organisation was not only warning of volatility – Bitcoin's price moved from $1,000 at the start of 2017 to almost $20,000 in December of the same year (it currently trades at around $6,500) – but also of the cybersecurity concerns.
"Cybersecurity breaches and cyber attacks on critical financial infrastructure represent an additional source of risk because they could undermine cross-border payment systems and disrupt the flow of goods and services," warned the IMF in October's World Economic Outlook report. "Continued rapid growth of crypto assets could create new vulnerabilities in the international financial system,"
Blacktower, expat financial advisers in the Canary Islands
Markets, currencies and economic systems evolve, change and are subject to volatility. Effective financial planning and wealth management is about putting plans in place to weather storms and make the most of opportunities. For some investors cryptocurrencies will form a legitimate part of this, for others, there may be too much risk involved.
Blacktower expat financial advisers in the Canary Islands can help you develop a strategy that aligns with your goals and investment personality. Talk to us today for more information.