A trio of billionaire brothers convened in a Park Avenue apartment on a recent afternoon.
Specifically, the 96th floor of 432 Park Ave., a spacious six-bedroom sky palace on the market for a stunning $169 million, which is 1,396 feet above street level.
It is currently the city’s most costly listing.
“Everyone rushes to the windows as soon as they can.” Ryan Serhant, the skypad’s listing broker and reality TV star, described the vistas as “absolutely ridiculous.”
The views from the full-floor skypad, which spans from a breakfast bar overlooking Central Park to great rooms and libraries looming over the metropolitan skyline, are breathtaking.
What was previously the property of sheiks and finance titans (the apartment’s owner is Fawaz Alhokair, a Saudi retail billionaire), is now the territory of a new breed of ultra-wealthy young individuals who made their fortunes in Bitcoin.
“Anyone who comes through gets wine and champagne,” Serhant said of the 12 recent crypto showings. “However, a lot of these crypto guys seem a bit drab.” They only consume computer. They’re interested in hard-asset investments and want ‘one of a kind,’ like NFTs, and they’re having clever, intellectual talks about it. People are willing to spend a lot of money to own one of a kind.”
However, many of them are cash-strapped, such as Sam Bankman-Fried, the world’s richest 29-year-old with a $22.5 billion crypto fortune. Some people don’t even own their own homes.
“They take care of their parents first, buy their mother a house, and then, like Drake, get themselves a car, and then they get themselves an apartment,” said Serhant, who has been watching and targeting crypto titans via Twitter and Reddit. “Everyone is quite outspoken. We locate them, place properties in front of them, and everything works.”
These crypto millionaires, who went from having $6 in their bank account to having $600 million, have good cause to invest in Manhattan real estate now.
President Joe Biden revealed earlier this month that his government is working on new anti-money laundering regulations for the real estate market. A major question is whether the rule will incorporate crypto currency reporting requirements.
“Will crypto be treated as cash, triggering a currency transaction report if you pay with it?” Elise Bean, a former staff director of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said, “It’s uncertain right now.” “There’s a reason cryptography is called that: it’s all about secrecy.”
Bean believes that, like banks, crypto dealers should be required to identify the beneficial owners of the businesses they deal with and turn over the names connected with private crypto keys to police enforcement.
“Americans want to know who owns the ground beneath our feet — and to prevent it from being purchased with illegitimate monies provided by corrupt authorities, tax cheaters, or criminals,” she said.
Local and federal governments, however, do not always agree. Last month, Mayor-elect Eric Adams travelled aboard crypto-entrepreneur Brock Pierce’s private plane to Puerto Rico (an developing crypto hub). Adams stated that he wants New York to become a crypto hub.
Adams, like Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, has stated that he will accept cryptocurrency as his first payment. His spokeswoman later explained that he would convert his initial paychecks from US currency to Bitcoin.
Because of the next mayor’s crypto-positive view, crypto entrepreneur Lane Rettig and his wife, Amazon exec Lily Rettig, recently turned some of their coins into a new $3.5 million condo on Central Park North.
“It’s been a tech centre for a long time,” he continued, “which was thrilling and surprising.” “Right now, the city is dominated by cryptography.”
Crypto purchases, according to experts, are a win-win situation for both New York, which benefits from more tax income, and investors, who benefit from a more diverse portfolio of assets.
“It’s common to trade a portion of your portfolio for a hard asset like real estate,” said Shaun Pappas, a real estate lawyer. “It’s a good area to put money, especially if your other investments have seen a large growth.”
Magnum Real Estate Group, led by developer Ben Shaoul, began selling condos for Bitcoin in 2018. According to The Washington Post, he has sold more than $25 million in commercial and residential real estate in cyber currency since then.
“As a result of the increase in transactions, you’re opening up real estate investment to a whole new demography of investors,” Shaoul explained. “Crypto currency users are a unique breed of individual. They aren’t only stockholders in the financial sector or doctors and lawyers. Bus drivers, instructors, and cab drivers are among them. They had never invested before jumping on the crypto currency bandwagon, and now that they’ve made money, they want to keep it.”
Individual buyers and sellers are also putting their money where their mouth is.
“I’ve been in cryptocurrency since 2011, and I’m looking to buy an apartment in cryptocurrency,” said entrepreneur Troy Osinoff, a New Yorker who now lives in Miami and is trying to sell his $1.7 million apartment for $2.7 million in cryptocurrency. “It’s a complicated situation.” I’m attempting to convert my apartment into an NFT that comes with the property. Some people are concerned about the volatility of such a large transaction, but as crypto gets more mainstream, it will become more common.”
However, according to other experts, these inexperienced investors are also at risk of making poor selections offline.
“The amount of crypto money in the New York real estate market is significant,” said Ed Mermelstein, a real estate lawyer and broker who represents many overseas purchasers. “Some of these huge Bitcoin billionaires — many of whom are worth hundreds of millions of dollars — have just recently begun to explore transferring their winnings into cash and tangible purchases.”
However, rather than cashing out their coins for fiat currency, he warns that some of these buyers are borrowing against these highly volatile cyber currencies, which he describes as “very risky.”
Others worry that cryptocurrency money has inflated specific parts of New York City real estate, such as Greenwich Village, where people with no prior real estate experience are buying townhouses for the first time – and overpaying.
Dolly Lenz of Dolly Lenz Real Estate stated that these buyers are extremely tough to vet.
She answered, “You’ve never heard of any of them.” “They were making money like crazy, one after the other.” They made $5,000 by investing $1 in Ethereum. And they’re all mathematically savvy.”
Jenny Lenz adds that they’re looking for properties in the $12 to $20 million range, all of which are condos or penthouses.
“They want dazzling,” she remarked, “and they want turn-key, ready to go.” “They don’t want to wait for things like a sofa to arrive because of supply chain concerns.” They’re looking for fast pleasure.”