Major athletes and musicians have gotten paid in cryptocurrency – and now real estate agents can as well.
A specialty finance firm called RLTY Capital is the first to offer brokers the option to get their commissions paid up front, in crypto, underscoring how digital coins are becoming a more mainstream part of financial transactions.
“As crypto has become more widely used, we decided that it would be a good option to offer agents and that it is quite possibly the way of the future,” Briggs Elwell, CEO and co-founder of RLTY Capital, told Yahoo Finance in an interview.
“We’re expanding the ways our customers can be paid or invest, and we want to make the process as easy as possible,” Elwell added.
Crypto allows for a quick and straightforward payment process, he said, and empowers agents to cut out intermediaries while avoiding payment processing fees associated with banks and wire transfers.
Ryan Serhant, CEO and founder of the real estate brokerage bearing his name, has invested in RLTY. According to the entrepreneur, a lot of real estate agents in luxury markets like New York and South Florida (which RLTY serves) want to get paid in crypto.
“[They] are dealing with purchasers who are either buying in or through cryptocurrency; so it's just a natural progression,” Serhant said.
“I think it's gonna be huge for us and the agents that we work with,” he added.
As more and more institutions come into crypto…everyone is going to be more and more inundated with crypto in front of them, whether it's using it to make purchases at the grocery store, Amazon, or putting their Netflix subscription through it.Ryan Serhant, real estate entrepreneur
Currently, RLTY’s services are available in New York and Florida, and are expected to go national within the next six to eight months.
RLTY, which works with industry professionals to acquire pending real estate commissions for residential and commercial properties, purchases commissions directly from agents and does not go through a brokerage. That makes it seamless and allows agents to invest back into their business — something Serhant says most 1099 contractors have a hard time doing.
The firm has dealt in traditional dollar transactions but it’s now just starting to offer crypto. Elwell says what differentiates RLTY Capital is that it doesn’t have a cap on commissions it will purchase, whereas most of its competitors cap commissions at around $10,000 to $15,000.
Elwell is estimating that 5% of repeat customers will give it a try.
“RLTY Capital purchases commissions from agents and gives them access to capital within minutes, hours or days at the most whereas those agents would otherwise have to wait months sometimes to get paid for their work,” Serhant told Yahoo Finance.
“They don't have salaries or benefits. We give them as many choices as possible to take their hard work for dollars as quickly as we can — and if they want it and cryptocurrency we are there for them,” he added.
The ability of real estate agents to earn commissions in crypto comes as real estate purchases are starting to be made in crypto both on the residential and commercial side.
Previously Serhant predicted that within the next five years, 50% of real estate transactions in the U.S. will be done in some way, shape, and form with cryptocurrency.
“Cryptocurrency is no longer just an alternative asset class, it's now just another asset class,” he explained.
“As more and more institutions come into crypto…everyone is going to be more and more inundated with crypto in front of them, whether it's using it to make purchases at the grocery store, Amazon, or putting their Netflix subscription through it,” Serhant predicted.
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