The growing popularity of the bitcoin, a global digital currency, has prompted a Saskatoon real estate agent to incorporate it into his business.
The bitcoin was created by computer programmers, and is independent of all other currencies, stock markets and exchange rates. It's value still does change, much like stocks — except it exists in cyber space.
'You could probably live off of the food you can buy online with bitcoin today.'—Jeff Cliff
Paul Chavady is a Saskatoon real estate agent who has adopted the bitcoin into his business model. He is now accepting bitcoins for his services. Theoretically, a prospective buyer could offer a down payment for a house Chavady sells using bitcoins.
For him and his partner, Jerry Hallgrimson, the decision to offer the bitcoin option was an easy one.
"If a person comes in and says I have American money versus Canadian money, of course we would find a way to make sure they were taken care of," Chavady said. "Similarly, bitcoin has shown itself to be a viable currency and we want to make sure we accept that as well."
The bitcoin peaked in popularity in late March, when Cypriots resorted to using the currency after being shut out of their personal bank accounts.
Some analysts have dismissed the bitcoin while others think it is the next big thing on the digital frontier's horizon. With the growing number of online retailers who accept it you can use it to buy everything from food to jewellery and cars.
Jeff Cliff is a Regina-based computer programmer who has been using the bitcoin to buy and sell goods since its debut in 2009.
"I've ordered an entire month of groceries, a large supply of coffee from bit-brew-dot-net. You could probably live off of the food you can buy online with bitcoin today," says Cliff.
The bitcoin has no regulatory body, so buyers need to be aware of scams and potential tax implications.