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Dubai to accept bitcoin payments on $325m real estate project

Residences at a new property development in Dubai Science Park can now be purchased in the digital currency bitcoin. 

The Knox Group of Companies said the 2.4 million-square-foot property venture – valued at $325 million and known as Aston Plaza and Residences – will consist of two residential towers and a shopping mall, and will be the first major real estate development that will accept bitcoin as payment.

Bitcoin has surged over 400 percent this year to hit a record high of $4,870 last week, and this latest development – situated near Al Barsha South – is a step toward efforts to push the crypto-currency into the mainstream.

“This a great opportunity for the bitcoin community to offload some of its significant gains, especially the early adopters, and actually deploy them in hard-core assets which I‘m building,” Knox’s chairman, Doug Barrowman, said in an interview with Reuters.

Bitcoin payments platform BitPay will process the bitcoin transactions. The company already provides bitcoin payment tools to companies such as Microsoft and Virgin Galactic.

Studio apartments will start in price from 33 bitcoin and, mirroring ICOs, early investors will be given additional bonuses, Barrowman said. Packages for interior design services and furniture can also be purchased in bitcoins.

One-bedroom apartments can go for about 54 bitcoins, or $250,000, while two-bedrooms can be bought for 80 bitcoins, or $380,000.

The Dubai venture is a collaboration with Baroness Michelle Mone, a member of the House of Lords and founder of the lingerie company Ultimo. There will be 1,133 apartments; 480 have already been sold in traditional currencies and the remaining will be earmarked for bitcoin holders, Baroness Mone said.

The project is expected to be complete by late 2019.

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