Bitcoin now accepted at U.S. real-estate crowdfunding platform

WSJ - Market Watch | Feb 4, 2014

Bitcoin accepted here - Bitcoin now accepted at U.S. real-estate crowdfunding platformInvestors 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.”

Related:  Open Avenue, a Canadian Portal, Wants to Bring Crowdfunding to Real Estate

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 +1.84% to allow the online discount retailer to accept bitcoin payments.

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