Buying a home is an exercise in tightrope walking so as not to lose patience and money in appraisals, mortgages, Documented Legal Acts (AJD), Property Transfer Tax (ITP), VAT... To this salad of figures and letters we must add (for astonishment of those who still calculate in pesetas) the possibility of paying in bitcoins or ethereum for the house of our dreams.
In a galaxy far away, in the first Star Wars trilogy (1970s), the human being trades chips thanks to intergalatic credit. A few decades later, in Spain, the use of cryptocurrencies has grown unstoppably, since it was used for the first time, in 2014. The number of people who carried out a transaction in the first quarter of 2022 with this medium multiplied by 11 compared to to the same period of 2020, according to a study by Fintonic.
Despite the volatility of its value, the bitcoin network processed $489 billion per quarter last year, according to a study by Blockdata. Large companies like Tesla, Starbucks or Microsoft already accept them as a form of payment. And the real estate market is also taking its first steps: the Proptech Tiko announced at the end of 2021 that it would accept digital currencies to pay for the purchase of a home. But the interest in this market has precedents. In 2018, the first floor in Spain was already sold with cryptocurrencies, an attic in Tarragona for which 40 bitcoins were paid, which was equivalent to 550,000 euros at the time. The main real estate portals already include properties that accept this type of payment among their offers.
What is the Tiko protocol? Ana Villanueva, Iberia CEO of the company with a presence in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Vizcaya, Malaga, Seville, Zaragoza and Lisbon explains it: "We process the moment the home is sold to convert it into euros, both in the down payment and in the sale before a notary. Thus, there is the certainty that the price will correspond to the value of the cryptocurrency.” There is no specific legislation for the sale of homes with cryptocurrencies. It really is an adaptation. «The process is designed just like a traditional sale, going to the notary and paying taxes. Because it is one more means of payment, such as a check or a bank transfer. All you need is a Wallet and resources to carry out the conversion”, explains Villanueva.
Itziar Ramos Medina, Notary Public of Córdoba, collaborator of Notarios en Red, points out “that there are partial regulations, such as the 2021 tax fraud law, which establishes obligations to tax control these assets.”
Regarding regulatory initiatives, Alfonso Ayuso, CEO of Minos Global and associate of the AEFI (Spanish Association of Fintech and Insurtech) of the Crypto vertical, comments that “in the latest update of the law on the prevention of money laundering and financing of the terrorism, companies that offer custody services for crypto-asset wallets, as well as crypto-fiat exchange, were included as obligated subjects.
Europe is preparing for the new times. “The approval of the new Cryptoactive Market Regulation that will regulate both the issuance of cryptoactives and the provision of services is already in its final process,” adds Ayuso. Likewise, the new Crypto Funds Transfer Regulation is in the process of being approved, which establishes the information obligations of service providers regarding the identification of the beneficiaries and issuers of crypto transfers.
Ramos warns that the direct sale with cryptocurrencies, without conversion to euros, would be equivalent to "a swap, an exchange of one good for another." This has a clear fiscal effect: "In a traditional sale, property transfer taxes are paid by the buyer, but in this case they would be paid twice, by both parties."
Alberto Miranda, specialist in cryptocurrency taxation at TaxCripto, affirms that the settlement of taxes is “exactly the same as what is traditionally done. For the purposes of the Tax Agency, you settle in euros because that is the value of the sale for the Treasury».
Miranda considers that there is a future in transactions with cryptocurrencies: «According to a study now in Spain there are between four and five million people with crypto assets. There is talk that by 2025 there will already be a digital euro. And the Central Banks are considering taking out their own cryptocurrencies.