Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies are beginning to change, well, just about everything. Over the last few years, “crypto” has infiltrated countless industries, including finance, real estate, energy, social media, art, sports, and many others.
While it certainly has its skeptics, it’s beginning to seem as though crypto is here to stay. Indeed, just last year, El Salvador passed a law to recognize Bitcoin as legal tender in the country. In January, Senator Wendy Rogers introduced a bill to add Bitcoin to the list of accepted legal tender in the state of Arizona. Numerous members of Congress and other Federal, State, and local officials have been outspoken advocates of Bitcoin, Ethereum, crypto, and blockchain technology. Perhaps most notable here at home, New York City Mayor Eric Adams received his first paycheck (and vowed to receive others) in the form of Bitcoin and Ethereum, and has made it clear that he wants New York City to be the center of cryptocurrency and other financial innovations.
With respect to real estate, crypto has already made a meaningful impact in New York City. Over the last several years, crypto started being used as consideration for various real estate transactions, and there has been a noticeable uptick in interest recently from developers, investors, and purchasers. Starr Associates LLP is proud to have facilitated the purchase and sale of residential and commercial units using crypto as the form of payment. In total, our firm has consummated tens of millions of dollars of crypto transactions via BitPay, a United States-based cryptocurrency payment service company. Starr Associates LLP’s verified Tier Four account with BitPay permits unlimited daily and annual transaction volume. Whether our firm is representing the purchaser or the seller, the process of exchanging real estate for crypto generally works as follows:
1. Within 24-48 hours of when the down payment or balance is due, our firm would coordinate with
BitPay to generate an invoice for the amount due.
2. The invoice is sent to the purchaser via email along with instructions for effectuating the payment. The amount due is denominated in the requested form of cryptocurrency and has a price-locked conversion rate in United States Dollars (“USD”). In addition to Bitcoin (BTC), BitPay also accepts the following other cryptocurrencies: Ethereum (ETH), Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and five (5) different USD-pegged “stablecoins” (GUSD, USDC, USDP, DAI, and BUSD).
3. The purchaser has fifteen (15) minutes from the time purchaser opens the invoice payment flow to lock-in the conversion rate and effectuate the payment of the invoiced amount in cryptocurrency. Purchasers are, of course, advised to verify the legitimacy of the email and invoice prior to accessing any links and remitting the requested payment.
4. Upon receipt of the cryptocurrency, BitPay sends the corresponding USD value to our firm’s escrow account to be held until the USD funds are released to the applicable parties at the agreed- upon time.
Note: the above process may vary (both in substance and time), as BitPay performs additional layers of due diligence depending upon the size of the transaction.
Aside from real estate transactions, there are numerous projects seeking to disrupt the real estate industry and change how owners, operators, occupants, and investors interact with real estate. These projects are nascent and exciting, but they have an arduous road ahead as they must navigate Federal and State securities, banking, privacy, anti-money laundering, and other laws. But it is interesting to consider the potential impacts of crypto and blockchain technology on real estate ownership and chain of title, condominium and cooperative governance/voting, source of funds disclosures, and alternative methods of purchasing, selling, financing, and investing in real estate.
Starr Associates LLP has its finger on the pulse of this quickly-blossoming industry and is ready to assist clients incorporate crypto into their real estate transactions and ventures. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Shaun Pappas and Benjamin Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Nothing herein should be considered or construed as financial, investment, legal, tax, or other advice. Readers should conduct their own due diligence, and consult with an attorney, accountant, and/or other trusted industry professional(s) before purchasing, utilizing, or otherwise interacting with
cryptocurrencies, tokens, or blockchain technology. Starr Associates LLP does not make any representations or warranties regarding Bitcoin, Ethereum, any other cryptocurrency or token, or blockchain technology, including, without limitation, their security, usability, reliability, fitness for any particular purpose, or legality within any particular jurisdiction. Transacting cryptocurrencies or tokens on a blockchain involves risk, volatility, and the payment of fees. Participate and interact with cryptocurrencies, tokens, and blockchain technology at your own risk.
Our team has had the pleasure of working with Starr Associates on our project at 150 Rivington Street. The entire Starr team was a tremendous asset to the success of our project. Through very challenging times, Starr Associates came through time and time again. It is an honor to work with everyone at Starr!
I have known Allan Starr for many years and worked with him on many projects. He has always exceeded my expectations. He not only knows the ins and outs of the law, but knows how to make the whole process easy and quick. I’ve found him to possess an incredibly astute legal mind, combined with a common sense approach that always accomplishes my goals. He’s not only a gentleman and a friend, but a brilliant lawyer.
It has been an absolute pleasure working with Allan Starr and Samantha Sheeber over the past twelve years. They are not only the utmost professionals, but also wonderful people who I have grown to love like family. I trust them with all of my new development projects and private clients, and we support each other in our business and personal lives. Starr Associates LLP has always been there for me and my clients and I would recommend them as highly as I recommend anyone.
Allan and I have worked together for decades; along the way, I have worked with Samantha Sheeber, Andrea Roschelle, John Rodriguez and Erica Starr and have always been pleased with their quick and accurate responses. They have worked with us on closings (with great and efficient results), restatements of stale plans, amendments and other assorted AG requirements, always on a timely and cost-effective basis.
“Working with Starr has been great on three condo projects in Manhattan to date. The accessibility and direct attention of the partners is unsurpassed. Allan and Sam have the interests of the owner at heart and make every effort to protect our interests in a responsible and defensible manner. Their practical approach and deep knowledge of the offering plan process and requirements of the AG office combine to make a highly effective and efficient package. At the associate level they have good support as well. The closing office has to be the best in NY – never a failed closing in 15 years. We are repeat customers and will be going forward.”
“Samantha Sheeber is a partner in making transactions successful. She’s resourceful, respected, smart, funny as hell, and is swift to constantly embarrass us (and clients) because she sees the end while we all muddle in the middle. She saves time. She is selfless and fast and conscientious. She’s loyal to the notion of selflessly getting stuff done. She cultivates great talent. And she makes the process fun, even when she is mad at us for asking the same impossible question 11 times hoping for a new result (a solution for which — by the way — she often discovers).”
“As an active developer in New York City, Magnum Real Estate Group is proud to have partnered with Starr Associates, LLP as our legal counsel in 5 significant projects valued at approximately $800 million. Over the last 5 years, Starr has provided us with exceptional advice on condominium Offering Plans and related transactions. Partner Samantha Sheeber, Esq. and her team have professionally guided us, and provided creative and effective solutions when needed.”
“I have had the fortunate opportunity, over the past 16 years, to work with Allan Starr and Samantha Sheeber who I consider to be experts in the field of real estate law. They, together with their team, have a deep understanding of Attorney General Offering Plan registrations and continually seek to identify creative solutions to complicated issues. Their level of integrity and commitment are unwavering no matter how large or small a project. I completely endorse Starr Associates LLP and look forward to our mutual continued success.”
“Starr Associates’ specialty in the creation and representation of condominiums is unmatched. Their knowledge, experience and professionalism in the office condominium sector is best-in-class. Starr Associates’ hard work and expertise has been critical to the success of our firm’s office condominium projects.”
“Starr Associates have been our condominium attorneys for many years. Their counsel goes well beyond just drafting the condominium documents, which of course they do extremely well. They also represent us and our brand with condominium unit purchasers, and with our lenders and partners on condominium related matters. We have always found Starr’s attorneys to be professional, responsive and cost-conscious.”