Dubai-based DAMAC Properties has announced that it will make it easier for cryptocurrency holders to buy real estate property from it, in a move it believes will help to “revolutionise the future of real estate”.
In a statement on Wednesday, the company, operating in the luxury real estate market since 2002, said “it is stepping up to serve the digital economy by facilitating the conversion to fiat, and the sale of property to holders of bitcoin and ethereum.”
The move makes it one of the first property developers around the world to ease the process of buying property for customers who wish to pay with cryptocurrency, and the company believes this will also boost its efforts to provide convenience to real estate investors.
Ali Sajwani, General Manager of Operations at DAMAC, and lead of the organisation’s digital transformation initiatives, said the move is part of the company’s aim “to accelerate the new economy for newer generations, and for the future of our industry”.
“It is crucial for global businesses like ours to stay at the top of evolution. Offering yet another transactional mode is exciting and we are glad to recognise the value this technology brings to our customers.”
Meanwhile, Khalil Kassam, co-founder of Fomo Lab, an NFT management agency, said that “this is an important landmark for such a major property developer in Dubai.”
Speaking to Business Recorder, he said DAMAC remains among the first wave of companies to adopt cryptocurrencies for their core operations, although “in the background” all property developers have been speaking about this topic for the last few years and making strategic decisions to move towards accepting crypto.
He explained that the company will now have an additional transaction channel. Payments would be made like for any other currency or asset except that they could optionally be made without any intermediaries due to the decentralised nature of blockchain.
“Accepting cryptocurrencies as a means of payment brings the company into the future of finance and exposes it to the technological advances of the blockchain,” said Kassam.
Commenting on DAMAC’s wider digital ambitions, Kassam said: “It has also showcased its view on the metaverse and how their ecosystem will incorporate not only cryptocurrency but non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as well.”
Earlier this week, DAMAC said it is investing $100 million to build digital cities in the metaverse. The initiative forms part of its ambitions to move into digital assets and NFTs.
Dubai has been at the forefront of becoming a crypto-friendly city. A number of cryptocurrency exchanges have been given permission to operate within its financial free zones, while the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre’s Crypto Centre was launched in May 2021 to promote blockchain technologies.
Last month, Dubai adopted its first law meant to regulate the operations of cryptocurrencies and digital assets, like non-fungible tokens, which has meant many crypto companies are moving in to the city. It also granted the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance a licence to conduct some operations in Dubai.
As DAMAC noted in its statement: “Dubai is heading towards becoming a crypto hub. The emirate is also promoting other virtual assets with crypto-friendly regulation.”
Meanwhile, Kassam said the move could have a long-reaching impact. For one, the real estate sector represents a significant share of Dubai’s economy and such moves will contribute to the emirate’s goal to develop the crypto industry. He believes it will also entice competitors as well as those in other sectors to adopt cryptocurrencies as well.
In addition, allowing people to use cryptocurrency for houses, cars, and other items “only goes in favour of growing the flow of money throughout Dubai.”
He added that in the UAE, crypto companies, regulators and government bodies are getting together to look at creating licences for crypto specific businesses to get the support they need “and thus the economy can only benefit from these forward-thinking decisions.”