Digital Life

Sydney real estate agency begins accepting bitcoin

Sydney real estate agency Forsyth Real Estate has begun accepting virtual cryptocurrency bitcoin for house deposits and property advertising, through a partnership with Australian bitcoin payments provider CoinJar.

The 115-year-old real estate agency on Sydney's north shore said that it took on bitcoin to offer another avenue for online payment to the influx of international investors and expats entering the prominent Sydney market.

Forsyth managing director James Snodgrass said the agency had become a strong supporter of the bitcoin economy recently, as it allowed overseas transactions with less fees and exchange rate fluctuations.

"Prior to launching, we had discussions with our financial division who outlined the risks and opportunities of bitcoin and we were happy with our findings," he said.

But the director of Max Walls International Real Estate in Manly, Anthony Walls, said he was not convinced.

"I must tell you I'm very concerned about the bitcoin situation," Mr Walls said.


"I just don't need to deal with those [virtual currencies] and I don't need the grief."

Mr Walls was referring to the hacking of 850,000 bitcoins from the high-profile Mt Gox currency exchange worth about $US500 million ($548 million) earlier this month. The attack ruined Mt Gox, which was reportedly handling up to 70 per cent of the world's bitcoin transactions.

"I would need to be convinced and I'd want a whole team of lawyers sitting at the table signing off on it," Mr Walls said in response to whether he would ever accept bitcoin.

"I'd prefer to have bank to bank cleared funds. We don't deal any other way."

So far Forsyth Real Estate says it has had no buyers offering to pay in bitcoin. But it hopes this will change once word gets out.

Invented in 2008 by an anonymous computer scientist known only by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin is cryptocurrency without any regulatory links, generated by computers performing complex mathematical calculations. It is usually held in digital "wallets" or on hard drives and can be used to transact for different products and services.

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