Property selling for bitcoin; Dubai based developers target ‘crypto-investors’ looking to diversify their assets

Bitcoin’s newly-rich have just been offered another temptation as a new development in Dubai is being advertised to the community. The luxury apartments are part of “Aston Plaza Crypto," a complex with two 33-story residential towers and a three-story shopping mall. Under construction now, and costing £250 million, the units are estimated to be complete and ready to hand over to the owners in April 2019.

Developer Knox Group is offering the studio, one, and two bedroom units to the cryptocurrency community priced in Bitcoin, although prices are pegged to a US dollar exchange rate. Prices range from 133,000 USD, approximately 30 BTC, to 379,000 USD, approximately 86 BTC, and include “a 15-20% discount for the first tranche of properties,” according to the Knox Group. “Packages for interior design services and furniture will also be offered to purchase in bitcoins.”

A raffle is being held to help launch promotions for the development. One of the one-bedroom apartments will be given away as a prize, according to the company’s PR firm. All buyers will automatically be entered into the raffle when they buy any unit using Bitcoin, although the raffle is subject to a minimum of 50 apartments being sold.

"Bitcoin payments offer a significant leap forward for high-value international payments," said BitPay CEO Stephen Pair. BitPay will be processing payments for the company.

- Stephen Pair, BitPay CEO

The plan, according to Knox Group’s founder and chairman Douglas Barrowman, is to cater to those with considerable cryptocurrency holdings. He explained that he “wanted to offer the property, tech and blockchain community a unique and exclusive opportunity by merging the property and tech sectors together in a true first for the industry.”

“The current popularity of Initial Coin Offerings, a token-based method of fundraising for blockchain-based start-ups, has demonstrated there is huge demand for crypto-investors to diversify their assets,” he explained in the official announcement.

To that end, the property developer hopes that the raffle and the price discount upon launch will incentivize early buyers, in much the same way ICOs are incentivized with lower rates for early investors.

“Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in a few short years means it’s now the world’s leading cryptocurrency. This is exactly why we are the first property development ever to be priced in Bitcoin. I believe, as it gains mainstream adoption, many will follow our lead on this. I would, as I have done throughout my career in business, like to be the one who starts the trend, a very exciting one at that.” - Knox Group chairman Douglas Barrowman

The project is the first public joint venture between Barrowman and the Baroness Michelle Mone OBE, a member of the UK House of Lords. The two high-profile UK entrepreneurs have picked the Dubai luxury apartment complex to be their first joint venture together, although they have worked together in other ways over the years.

After making her fortune as the designer and founder of Ultimo Brands International, the UK’s leading lingerie brand, the Baroness was appointed by the Prime Minister as UK’s ‘entrepreneurship tsar’ to lead the ongoing government review on supporting business start-ups in disadvantaged communities. She was also awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2010.

On top of her parliamentary duties, today she runs an interior design business, is a public speaker, and is also a trustee of the Barrowman Foundation, a charity to help young people from all walks of life get a good start.

- Baroness Michelle Mone of Mayfair OBE

The Aston Plaza Crypto is currently 25% complete with a target opening date set for mid-2019. The complex is part of a new international property development near the heart of the capital, in the Dubai Science Park where many large companies have set up their middle-east headquarters. Boasting over 1,100 residential units and an area of 2.4 million square feet, Aston residences offer unobstructed views of the Dubai Hills and city skyline through their floor-to-ceiling windows.

Parking is included with each apartment from four basement floors, on top of which sit the three-story retail plaza covering 123,283 square feet. The mall will include boutiques, cafes, convenience stores, restaurants and a leading supermarket. Another 70,000 square feet of amenities include pools, a gym, an open-air cinema, a track, gardens, and other plant-filled spaces with seating areas and free wifi throughout.