An Australian businessman is selling his family home for bitcoins in the hope of benefiting from the burgeoning digital currency's skyrocketing value, according to a media report.
The Sunday Times reports that Cliff White, 43, is offering his A$1.4m (US$1.3m, £765,000, €914,000) family home in Perth, which he has owned since 2001, for the crypto-currency.
White said that an interested buyer in the US is travelling Down Under to view the property that overlooks a lake in Parkerville, in the Shire of Mundaring, east of Perth.
If the house sale completes, White plans to keep the proceeds as bitcoin hoping that its value will continue to grow. He believes the value will continue to rise, potentially as a high as A$10,000.
He has spent A$10,000 buying the virtual currency since 2010, the year after it was launched. The investment is estimated to be worth more than A$1m at today's bitcoin rates.
"I found the concept really fascinating, but to be honest it was doing my head in because I couldn't understand the mining side of it," White told the Sunday Times.
"I then got into the trading side of it and thought 'wow, there is some real movement here'. I bought it low and watched it go to A$32 and watched it plummet it back down.
"It's seamless, it's fast, it's secure. I believe in it so I thought, well, why not put my house on it?"
Popularity and Concerns
Bitcoin, the peer-to-peer virtual currency, was launched in 2008 and is traded within a global network of computers. They can be transferred without going through banks or clearing houses, reducing fees involved in the services significantly.
The value of the virtual currency surpassed US$1,000 earlier, as more and more businesses and consumers used the currency to buy and sell products and services.
The currency is not backed by any government or companies.
Nevertheless, critics say bitcoins could be used for drug transactions, money-laundering and other illegal activities due to the near anonymity of those who deal in it.
Earlier in October, US regulators shut down an online marketplace using bitcoins named Silk Road on charges of buying and selling illegal drugs and regulators seized US$3.6m worth of bitcoins.
China, the world's second-largest economy, earlier barred its banks from bitcoin transactions, noting that the virtual currency has no legal status. Subsequently, BTC China, the world's largest bitcoin exchange by transaction volume, has allegedly ceased trading in Chinese yuan.
Furthermore, the European Banking Authority (EBA) has warned consumers on the risks of virtual currencies, saying they may be at risk of losing their money as the currency is not regulated.
The developments have sent bitcoin below US$500, but it soon recovered to above US$600.