One of California’s Biggest Escrow Companies OKs Bitcoin
Glen Oaks Escrow, a leading escrow services provider in Southern California, has announced its onboarding with bitcoin processor BitPay so that the company can begin accepting bitcoin payments. The firm said the move comes in response to the recent surge of bitcoin-friendly real estate listings in SoCal and beyond.
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Pay Your Escrow Invoice, Bitcoin Style
Glen Oaks Escrow, a popular SoCal escrow company that provides financial services related to real estate purchases, movie budgets, and more, has embraced bitcoin payment processor BitPay in order to be able to accept bitcoin from its clients going forward.
The firm’s shift to accepting the genesis cryptocurrency comes amid a flurry of new “Bitcoin Accepted” real estate listings popping up in recent years, particularly in the wake of the 2017 cryptoeconomy bull run.
That flurry dynamic only seems poised to rise over the next decade as digital assets become increasingly popular, so the SoCal escrow company’s leadership feels their cryptoverse entrance is still early — at least relatively speaking.
“Increasingly, blockchain and cryptocurrencies have the potential to become a bigger part of real estate transactions,” Glen Oaks Escrow chief operating officer Joe Curtis commented of the BitPay embrace. “This is one step to be ahead of the curve and enable transactions to happen through this vehicle.”
How It’ll Work
Now, when Glen Oaks Escrow clients choose to pay up in bitcoin, BitPay “turns it into cash and wires it into the escrow account.”
As the firm specifically explained in their announcement:
“The purpose of BitPay in the process is to verify the funds (similar to how a bank would function). The escrow company then sends out an invoice to the buyer exactly like wire instructions would be sent. The buyer then has 15 minutes to pay with Bitcoin or the payment option will expire.
The funds go to escrow through BitPay and BitPay turns it into cash and wires it into the escrow account. In summary, BitPay takes the Bitcoin and converts it to cash for the seller, so the seller never actually see the Bitcoin payment, but just the cash.”
It’s a dynamic that some in the real estate arena are already saying will improve customer experiences.
For example, Piper Moretti, a realtor at Christie’s International Luxury Real Estate, predicts smoother sales in the industry may be nigh accordingly:
“Cryptocurrency transactions go much smoother when escrow is dialed into this cutting-edge way of purchasing property. I am so excited to see this new payment method coming to fruition because two years ago I would try to talk to any escrow company who would listen and now that it’s become more of a thing that people are realizing that they need to take a look at it.”
Beyond real estate, Neeraj Agrawal, Director of Communications at crypto think tank Coin Center, has previously noted that digital assets like bitcoin can be, generally speaking, ideal for property dealings.
“Within the context of real estate, it makes sense to use cryptocurrency in those types of transactions,” Agrawal said at the time. “Cryptocurrency is a way to send large amounts of money pretty easily with relatively low fees and little interference from middlemen.”
A Trend Heard ‘Round the World
Across the globe, real estate players have not only started embracing crypto but also blockchain tech in general.
In July 2018, Grozny, the capital of Russia state of Chechnya, teamed up with Russian banking power VEB to launch a blockchain-based pilot that would provide auditability for real estate dealings in the locale. A few weeks prior to that, French tech firm Blockchain Partner created a tool to track real estate transactions on the Ethereum blockchain.
Japanese real estate player Zweispace Japan similarly started testing a patented blockchain-based property registry in April. Some Indian states have even been looking at underpinning land revenue registries with blockchain, while Russia just saw its first ever on-chain mortgage deal.
With all that said, the convergence of blockchain and property is seemingly only just beginning.
What’s your take? If you made substantial cryptocurrency gains, would you buy a house, and if so, would you purchase it via crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via Pixabay