The Latin American e-commerce giant Mercado Libre has set up a section of its Argentinian real estate marketplace site where vendors accept Bitcoin as payment. The move is said to be the first such move by a major property portal operator and has been made in response to rampant inflation of the native Argentinian peso which has led to a boom in the popularity of cryptocurrency transactions.
The section on Mercado Libre's Argentinian website currently has 7 agencies listing some 75 properties from several Argentinian states and even some in neighbouring Uruguay. The company also hosted a recent webinar for interested buyers on the reality of buying a property with Bitcoin.
Speaking about his company's move to embrace cryptocurrency, Juan Manuel Carretero, Head of Real Estate Sales at Mercado Libre Argentina said: "Bitcoin offers multiple advantages for real estate transactions, both for the buyer and seller. Far from being a short term fad, we see it as a trend that will be consolidated over time."
The big drawback of transacting with bitcoin is the volatility of its value. According to the new section's explanatory page, the process for purchasing a house with Bitcoin is the same as it is with any other currency with the interested seller contacting the agency to inform them of their intention to purchase with Bitcoin with the all-important conversion of value being calculated on the day of the deed transfer.
Mercado Libre's founder and CEO Marcos Galperin is a big fan of cryptocurrency and the billionaire is on record as saying that Bitcoin is a better store of value than gold. Although the transactions being facilitated by this new section of Mercado Libre's Argentinan real estate marketplace do not actually occur on the site itself, but rather between the vendor and the buyer themselves through an agency, the company is surely not too far off reaching a point where it will allow users to transact on its own platform in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.