A 250 million pound ($325 million) luxury development has been launched in Dubai — and the people behind it don’t mind if you pay in bitcoin.
Announced Wednesday by British entrepreneurs Michelle Mone and Doug Barrowman, Aston Plaza and Residences spans more than 2.4 million square feet and is split across two 40-storey residential towers.
Its developers claim that it will be the “first major development” to be priced in the virtual currency bitcoin.
“Being a designer for 21 years, it’s a real passion of mine as the design side, and it’s great to be partnering up together as well to launch this. And this is the first major global development where you can purchase in bitcoin,” Mone told CNBC in an interview last week ahead of the announcement.
“Previously there’s been an apartment here and there’s been a house here and there, but never a £250 million development, so it’s really exciting to be involved in.”
Mone founded the lingerie brand Ultimo in 1996 through her company MJM International. She now owns the interior design firm Michelle Mone Interiors, which will be responsible for building main walkways and reception areas.
She is also a lawmaker in the U.K.’s upper chamber of parliament, and was appointed by former Prime Minister David Cameron two years ago.
Mone’s partner Barrowman, who is chairman of the Knox Group of companies, said that the pair chose bitcoin as part of the virtual token’s emergence as a more “mainstream” means of investment.
“I’ve been invested in the crypto world for the last couple of years really, and it’s a sector I’ve watched grow and emerge,” the venture capitalist told CNBC in an interview.
“So I see it coming to that stage where the early adopters are giving way to a more mainstream application of cryptocurrency, and therefore it’s a logical extension to take land and buildings and effectively offer people the opportunity to pay in cryptocurrency or bitcoin rather than just fiat currency.”
Barrowman said the “crypto world” would warm up to the property development as investors who don’t wish to live in the property can receive a nine percent return on their investment after completion.
“And that finds favor with how the crypto world operates, they like to be rewarded discounts, on ICOs (initial coin offerings), to allow them to buy into things. And I just think it’s quite groundbreaking what we’re doing,” he added.