Buyers of a Notting Hill mansion going on sale this month for £17 million will have to pay in Bitcoin, in what is believed to be a first for London.
The owners of the six-storey stucco-fronted home near Portobello Road will accept only the digital currency as payment and will not take cash.
At the current exchange rate the price is equivalent to about 5,050 bitcoin,
Lev Loginov, co-founder of property investment company London Wall, which bought the property at 4 Stanley Gardens in 2013, hopes to pioneer Bitcoin deals in Britain.
He said: “We want to shift all the perceptions on cryptocurrency.
"We think in future it is going to eliminate the need for solicitors and property title and is really going to change how real estate transactions are conducted.
The owners of the six-storey stucco- fronted home near Portobello Road will accept only the digital currency
“We would like to be the first company to transact in Bitcoin. It can be done quicker, more efficiently and it is much easier to deal with than using banks, which are putting in unnecessary over-regulation.”
It is not the first time that property sellers in London have said they could be paid in Bitcoin, but none have previously said it is the only payment method they will accept.
Last month the owner of a £1.7 million Peckham townhouse said he was open to offers in Bitcoin, but would also accept sterling.
The sellers say Bitcoin is more efficient and easier to deal in than banks
London Wall bought the Notting Hill property for £9.5 million and has spent about three years converting it from five flats back into a single residence.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin was the first major digital payment system, or cryptocurrency, when it was created in 2009 by a still unidentified inventor who uses the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
It has been described as a “peer to peer electronic cash system” that, unlike a physical currency, is not dependent on any government or central bank.
The protocols behind Bitcoin limit its circulation to a maximum of 21 million. They can be exchanged for other currencies and increasingly, products and services, or held as an investment.
Mr Loginov said the likely buyer would be an Asian tech entrepreneur who was familiar with Bitcoin.
He admitted there were still hurdles to overcome, including how to pay commission to estate agents and stamp duty to HMRC in Bitcoin.
The sale will trigger a £1.95 million stamp duty bill
But the 36-year-old added: ”I grew up in Siberia post the Soviet Union collapse in the Nineties.
"We had no money, and barter was a common thing. We were exchanging potato bags for TV sets and cars. I’m sure leading London agents can figure out how to take commissions for a £17 million property in cryptocurrency and I have full faith in HRMC to figure out how to tax it.”
The sale will trigger a £1.95 million stamp duty bill. Bitcoin has been associated with tax evasion and drug trafficking, but Mr Loginov and his business partner Ned El-Imad have hired advisers to ensure the currency has not been bought to launder money.
Business intelligence firm Quintel and barrister James Ramsden QC, an “asset tracing” specialist, will help identify the source of a buyer’s funds.