La Haus, a Latin American property startup, was backed by Bezos Expeditions. It said that it will accept Bitcoin to pay for real estate transactions. This is a further endorsement of the growing acceptance of cryptocurrency in the region.
Users can purchase homes using the company’s app. Buyers will be able to pay with digital currency starting with a Playa del Carmen housing development. According to the company, it will eventually open its remaining inventory of over 80,000 properties to Bitcoin.
Rodrigo SanchezRios (president and co-founder at La Haus), stated that Bitcoin is the future reserve currency. “At the core of our company, we are a technology company. It is natural for us that we are pioneers in this technology.
OpenNode, a Los Angeles-based payment processor, has been chosen by the company to partner with them. This will allow transactions on-chain as well as over the Lightning Network. It was created to make purchasing faster and easier. La Haus will act as an intermediary and pay the sellers in fiat. He said that the company is still deciding how much Bitcoin it will keep in its balance sheets.
Despite Bitcoin’s volatility, its acceptance is growing throughout Latin America. This adds legitimacy to the largest cryptocoin in the world, with a market worth of over $1.2 trillion. The price has risen 20% in the past month, pushing it to record highs of $68,000. El Salvador became the first country in the world to legalize Bitcoin in September, sparking interest from other countries and companies.
It is not clear if La Haus is actually the first proptech to accept Bitcoin. Sanchez-Rios stated that the technology will make it easier to buy a home in emerging markets. It will reduce the amount of paperwork required and the time taken to complete traditional transactions.
La Haus hired Jehudi Cruz-Sierra, a former Colombian deputy Minister and Presidential Advisor, to spearhead the project.
Sanchez-Rios, Jeronimo Uribe and Tomas Uribe (son of former Colombia President Alvaro Uribe), co-founded the company with Tomas Uribe in 2017. It has a presence in 10 cities in Colombia and Mexico. The company focuses on housing development. Sanchez-Rios stated that the app has over 1 million monthly users and more than $1 billion in annual gross transactions.
It has raised over $150 million in equity and debt from investors including Acrew Capital, Renegade Partners and Kaszek Ventures. Nubank co-founder David Velez and TIME Ventures are both Salesforce.com Inc.’s investment funds. La Haus didn’t disclose its valuation.
Sanchez-Rios stated that La Haus will likely raise funds again next year. It intends to expand to all major cities in Colombia and Mexico by the end of next year, and throughout Latin America.