Tenants at a London residence building can pay deposits in bitcoin, according to The Guardian. By year’s end, the building, The Collective, will also accept rent payments in bitcoin, marking the first time that a major developer in the United Kingdom has allowed bitcoin payments.
The Collective said its decision came in response to demand from international customers.
On Monday, the online booking form for The Collective’s Old Oak co-living scheme, the largest co-living development in the world with 550 rooms, announced it will accept bitcoin deposits.
The Collective has promised “spot conversions,” meaning it will assume any financial risk while holding the deposit, and return it at the original value when the term is complete. Rents start at £178 a week for a 10-sq-m space, and the standard deposit is £500 for all units.
Tenants will be able to pay their rent in bitcoin this coming fall.
Currency Trends Impact Decision
Reza Merchant, founder and CEO of The Collective, said the expansion and adoption of cryptocurrency globally marks a “fascinating development” in how people transact for goods and services globally, and in how they store value.
Many investors are becoming more comfortable with cryptocurrency, and more people will expect to be able to use it to pay for life’s essentials, such as housing rents and deposits.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents offered some reservations about cryptocurrency, however. David Cox, CEO of Arla Propertymark, said there could be niche markets willing to accept bitcoin in exchange for traditional rental payment, but bitcoin and electronic currency is still in its infancy and will have to develop before becoming a mainstream form of payment.
A New Convenience
Jon Taylor, the head of technology at The Collective, said one of the biggest barriers to bitcoin’s popularity is making it more consumer friendly. He said bitcoin will become established as a convenient way to pay deposits at The Collective.
The Collective offers an alternative to flat sharing, which is the traditional venue for twenty somethings when they come to London.
The company recently announced that the London Legacy Development Corporation was scheduled to grant the world’s first “co-living” planning permission for its most recent 250-room, 19-story development in East London, to open in late 2018 or early 2019. The company also acquired a third site in London’s Canary Wharf.