Online real estate services provider and marketplace Altisource Portfolio Solutions is the newest company to explore the potential of cryptocurrency and is announcing that it will begin allowing its use for real estate purchases and investments through its subsidiaries.
Homebuyers in Altisource's Equator.com or Hubzu.com marketplaces who choose Premium Title – another Altisource owned company – as their title and escrow provider can now complete their transaction through ForumPay, which will exchange the cryptocurrency at a fixed rate and transfer funds directly to Premium Title or a graduate attorney. Previously, buyers who wanted to use cryptocurrency to make payments had to convert it to legal tender and then transfer funds from their own personal accounts in trust. Buyers can exchange Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, Ethereum or Bitcoin cash with ForumPay.
"This is a breakthrough functionality at the forefront of crypto adoption," said Michael Jansta, senior vice president of marketing, Altisource Marketplaces. "When the value of cryptocurrencies rises, there are many investors who try to diversify some of those gains into other asset classes."
Altisource offers investment opportunities in real estate, including foreclosed homes, through online marketplaces and auctions on Equator.com and Hubzu.com.
The agreement between Altisource and ForumPay follows United Wholesale Mortgage's announcement in August that it is considering the possibility of accepting digital currency for mortgage payments. In the same month, officials in Spain proposed a law that would legalize the use of Bitcoin for mortgages and insurance.
But digital currencies have gotten their share of skepticism lately, including from Gary Gensler, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and acting auditor of the currency, Michael Hsu, who called them "underdeveloped". President Biden's candidate to head the auditor's office, Saule Omarova, is also a well-known critic of the cryptocurrency. The most common cryptocurrency concerns cited by experts include the lack of regulations and high volatility. The value of Bitcoin alone fluctuated between roughly $ 30,000 and $ 60,000 this year. At the close of trading on Monday, it was worth $ 49,165.
Altisource's announcement resulted in an initial spike in the share price in the first few minutes of trading, rising 2.3% from $ 10.14 to $ 10.37. At the close of trading on Monday, its value had fallen to $ 9.99.