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How to buy a house with cryptocurrency

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At Torii, we’ve had a lot of people ask us if or how they can buy real estate using Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other cryptocurrencies. Some people want to use cryptocurrency for how it was designed, others don’t want to liquidate to cash, but whatever their reasons, we wanted to put together a primer on some of the things you might want to know.

Cryptocurrency as an idea has been written about ad nauseum, so we’re going to skip that part and assume for this piece that since you’re interested in how to buy a house with it, you’re familiar with how the concept itself works.

Disclaimer: We’re not tax accountants or lawyers, so you should definitely talk to one of them before actually trying to do any of this.

A couple of other notes: We’re going to use Bitcoin as a stand-in for cryptocurrencies just because of its prominence, but most of the concepts will be the same regardless of which cryptocurrency you actually want to use. We’re also only going to talk about purchases in the United States.

The easiest way

The easiest way to buy a house with Bitcoin is to sell your Bitcoin for USD, and then buy a house with the cash proceeds. Yes, this now includes a traditional financial institution which Bitcoin was designed to not require, but this method allows you to easily buy any house on the market. The other benefit is that if you need traditional financing (read: a mortgage), then most banks are going to be much happier seeing cash in your Bank of America account as proof of funds than they are a screenshot of your Coinbase account.

The second easiest way

If you find a seller that has said they are willing to accept Bitcoin as payment (they exist, but there aren’t that many of them), you’re in luck. Most of the closing process is going to be the same as if you were paying cash (inspection, Purchase and Sale drafted by an attorney, etc), but you should be able to send Bitcoin straight tothe seller’s wallet. In reality, it probably isn’t going to quite that simple because of taxes and closing costs (all of which probably can’t be paid in Bitcoin and will need some amount of USD), but those represent a comparatively small part of the transaction.

Even if a seller hasn’t already advertised that they’ll accept Bitcoin, you could also submit an offer saying that you’re paying in Bitcoin and see if the seller is okay with that. However, based on volatility the vast majority of sellers will likely not be okay with this.

The not-as-easy-but-still-probably-possible way

Let’s say the seller isn’t willing to accept Bitcoin as payment, but they’re willing to accept your Bitcoin as proof of funds and accepts your offer, making it contingent on them receiving cash at settlement. If you go this route, you could try to have the seller get setup with a Bitcoin payment processor so that you pay in BTC, and they get instantly paid out in USD. There will likely be non-trivial fees associated with this (~1%), and you will need to communicate with the platform to ensure they’ll let you process such a large transaction (Bitpay, for example, starts you at a $10k limit).

You and/or the seller would also want to ensure that the platform will reliably provide you the service. Coinbase Merchant Services might work in theory, but as of the time of writing this, they’re not currently accepting new merchant services businesses.

Using a third-party service might violate a crypto-purist’s sensibilities, but it’s potentially a way to get an otherwise skeptical seller onboard.

Keep in mind that if you’re in a competitive market, many sellers are choosing from several offers that come in at the same time. If someone else is offering the same amount you are but they’re going with traditional financing, most sellers are going to choose that over the above. However, if you’re willing to pay x% more to do it this way, maybe they’ll think it’s worth the effort.

Potential for change

With “smart contract” currencies like Ethereum, there is certainly potential that in the future closing on a property looks much different than it does today. You could feasibly work your Purchase and Sale Agreement into a smart contract, and then your crypto trade execution could occur when you actually transfer title on the house. That could drastically simplify the process, but it’s not really viable yet. There are some companies working on blockchain title transfer, but I’ll save that for another post.

Also worth noting

Just as if you were selling stocks or bonds at a gain, you’re going to owe the IRS capital gains on whatever cryptocurrency profit that you made before buying your house.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the new tax bill now requires you to pay taxes on gains when you move between cryptocurrencies (read more at Fortune), so like-kind transactions no longer apply to things like LTC -> BTC. That means that if you have any altcoins that you need to move into BTC before converting to dollars, you’re going to have to pay taxes there, as well. If you later sell the house at a gain, you will be able to use a 1031 exchange to defer taxes, but again, that’s now only the case for real property like a house, not on anything else. More on that as well in a future post.


While buying real estate using cryptocurrency is probably a long time from being mainstream, it is possible today. At Torii, we’re working every day to make it easier to buy a house. If you’re interested in learning more, sign up at, or contact us at: info at torii dot properties.

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