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Bitcoins have been hitting the headlines recently with the virtual currency turning investors into overnight millionaires and now Bitcoins are making their way in to the Portuguese real estate market.

According to the Portuguese newspaper Diário de Notícias, the first real estate purchase involving Bitcoin payment has begun in Portugal, concerning a six bedroom property located some 30 minutes from Lisbon.

The property has been listed on an Australian real estate website that specialises in offering opportunities in virtual currency and the house is listed at a price of “975,000 euros or the equivalent in Bitcoins”.  The site explains that they are “here to promote the use of bitcoins in real estate transactions.  When selling property, the buyer pays in the virtual currency bitcoin and the seller receives dollars, euros, etc.”

While the Australian site promotes properties from around the world available to buy in this new form of currency, there have already been reports of specialised forums in Portugal where anonymous buyers are contacting property owners and agencies to enquire about purchasing houses with Bitcoins.

Bitcoins currently constitute a grey area in the Portuguese property market, mainly due to the fact that the currency is not traceable.  New laws in Portugal which came into effect in August last year, state that it is no longer possible to make such a purchase without having the source of the money in a bid to crack down on money laundering. 

Bitcoins remain a high risk currency that is not linked to the Bank of Portugal.  The Bank of Portugal currently states that the Euro is the only currency that is permitted for the buying and selling of property in Portugal.

Diário de Notícias spoke with Luís Lima, the President of APEMIP, the association responsible for representing the real estate sector in Portugal.  He said: “The final figures for 2017 have not yet been finalised but until the end of November there is no data to indicate that any transactions including Bitcoins have occurred in Portugal, however we are beginning to hear more interest from Bitcoin purchasers”.

He added: “We are also hearing an increasing number of people talk about Bitcoins in the industry and we usually find that from the moment a subject becomes talked about, the reality of that then soon follows.”

Jorge Silva, a notary in Portugal, told Dinheiro Vivo, that it was possible to exchange a house for Bitcoins in Portugal, rather than buy a house: “Bitcoin is not considered a currency by the Bank of Portugal so it is not possible to buy a house in Bitcoins, however it is possible to perform an exchange.

“Just as it is possible for me to exchange a house for another house, a car or a boat, there is nothing to stop a person from exchanging a house for Bitcoins.  In this respect it would instead be considered to be a barter and is possible to complete.”

For further information about purchasing a property in Portugal, contact a member of the Algarve Home Sales team directly.

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