Chandler-based Integrity All Stars becomes certified in … – The Business Journals

A Chandler-based real estate brokerage has become certified in cryptocurrency, allowing its agents to assist clients with buying homes using the digital currency.
Integrity All Stars, part of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties, participated in a seminar in November held by Florida-based Propy Inc., a real estate transaction platform using blockchain technology. In addition to cryptocurrency, the seminar including training in smart contracts, blockchain, digital wallets and NFTs, said Rebecca Hidalgo Rains, managing broker at Integrity All Stars.
“(The agents) have all gone through education and testing, and can all speak the language to be a wonderful resource for someone interested in using crypto as a down payment or selling their homes as an NFT using crypto,” Hidalgo Rains said.
An NFT – or non-fungible token – is a digital asset that’s recorded on a blockchain and used to certify authenticity and ownership of an item, artwork of property.
Hidalgo Rains’ decision to encourage the firm’s agents to enroll in cryptocurrency training was prompted by a rise in demand from clients looking to conduct property transactions using the digital currency and a desire to stay ahead of the market.
A Redfin survey published in January indicated that more than 12% of first-time homebuyers used proceeds from selling cryptocurrency to save for a down payment.
“It’s just a matter of time before it becomes mainstream,” Hidalgo Rains said of cryptocurrency home transactions. “I want to make sure my team is first at it.”
Hidalgo Rains is a real estate industry veteran with nearly 30 years of experience in the industry. Her interest in cryptocurrency and the metaverse was sparked in February at a spa retreat where she had a conversation with a man making fashion NFTs for Milan Fashion Week.
She began researching cryptocurrency and its usage in the real estate industry. After featuring Propy on an episode of her real estate and business podcast, Grateful Heart.TV, she asked if the company could host a seminar in Arizona for Integrity All Stars agents, she said.
“I found that Propy is the premier company to assist us Realtors in crypto certification,” she said.
Blockchain technology paves the way for records to be kept on property repairs and upgrades, letting buyers see the entire history of the home, Hidalgo Rains said.
“It’s a lot more streamlined,” she said. “You can’t erase or delete anything from the blockchain.”
Integrity All Stars is among a growing number of brokerages and real estate agents nationwide accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
In 2021, Propy auctioned the first real estate NFT, which was an apartment formerly owned by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington in Kyiv, Ukraine.
The Huyde Group, a Scottsdale-based investment firm, listed four luxury condominiums for sale in October 2021 with an option to use cryptocurrency as payment.
Buyers for the properties, however, did not use cryptocurrency in their transactions, said Johnathon De Young, luxury estate specialist with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty who represented the investment group.
Cryptocurrency has drawn scrutiny from investors and critics amid the collapse of FTX and arrest last month of its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, who is accused of misappropriating billions in customers’ funds on the cryptocurrency exchange.
Hidalgo Rains, however, still sees the value in cryptocurrency and NFTs in the real estate market. She’ll be listing a piece of land she owns as an NFT in the near future.
“For me, it was just really exciting to get to learn this new language alongside my team,” Hidalgo Rains said. “We have young team members and all people their age speak crypto and so do the affluent.”
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