by Isabelle Fraser, The Telegraph:
Michelle Mone made a splash when she entered the House of Lords. Offering fellow peers advice on underwear and nicknamed ‘Baroness Bra’, the lingerie tycoon was elevated by David Cameron while she served as his business tsar.
Now she is creating waves in the property industry with her new venture: selling homes in Dubai paid for using bitcoin.
This is the first property development ever to be sold using the virtual currency. Baroness Mone of Mayfair, who became a millionaire after founding the underwear brand Ultimo with her ex-husband, is launching it with her boyfriend, businessman Doug Barrowman.
It comes as the volatile cryptocurrency’s value has plummeted, with bitcoin down 20pc against the dollar in the last three days. Its price hit a record high of $4,700 last week, from around $1,000 at the start of this year.
They are selling $250m (£192m) of property in Dubai, which includes two 40-floor towers and a huge shopping mall, covering 2.4m sq ft.
The first 150 apartments in the complex will go on sale today using bitcoin. Buyers can also decorate their new home using Baroness Mone Interiors, her design service, paid for using the cryptocurrency.
A studio apartment in the complex starts from around 30 bitcoins, or $133,000, rising to 85 bitcoins for a two-bedroom flat. They come with access to a gym, swimming pool and residents’ lounge, and have views over the Dubai Hills and the city skyline.
“I’ve been invested in cryptocurrency for some time, it’s not a new thing,” Mr Barrowman said. “We’re offering the opportunity for people who’ve made significant gains to invest it in land.”
His company, the Knox group, has done a deal with BitStamp to immediately convert the bitcoin payment into dollars so it has no exposure to the volatile cryptocurrency. The apartments are priced in dollars and converted into bitcoin for buyers.
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