A senior law enforcement figure has poured cold water on the growing number of property developers and estate agents who say they’ll take cryptocurrency bitcoin as payment for properties.
Nigel Leary, a director of the National Crime Agency, says he has ‘serious concerns’ about cryptocurrencies being used to buy property due to their popularity with organised crime syndicates to launder money.
Those wishing to spend their crypto currency on property also face a nervous legal, lender and estate agency community.
Jeff Peters, a cryptocurrency millionaire who earlier this year attempted to buy a house for £1m, was told by his solicitor to hire a forensic accountant to prove that his profits were clean.
Speaking to The Times newspaper, Leary’s comments follow an offer by by high-end developer Nick Candy’s to accept payment via the two main crypto currencies – ethereum and bitcoin – for a £175 million penthouse he is selling within the One Hyde Park development in Knightsbridge.
Leary says he is ‘highly sceptical’ of those paying for high-value items such as property because the main advantage of doing so is to hide identity of the buyer and the source of their wealth.
He also says that, until proper regulation of crypto currencies is brought in, checks on transactions made using currencies like bitcoin should be made.
Candy’s fondness for crypto currency is not unusual. Estate agency PropertyVine recently announced it would accepted bitcoin for payments while online lettings agency Mashroom, which also operates Emoov said it will take rental payments in bitcoin too.