Land deal sealed using Bitcoin

Done deal: Yee (right) and Chin showing their 10 Bitcoin payment via Luno wallet.

KOTA KINABALU: While some merchants are still hesitant to accept cryptocurrency, one businessman in Sabah has signed and sealed the sale of a piece of land in Sabah’s east coast Libaran Island using Bitcoin.

The deal, worth half a Bitcoin (about RM38,000), was transacted between one of Sabah’s top tourism entrepreneurs Alexander Yee and his friend Polycarp Chin.

Yee agreed to sell 1.219ha of land on Libaran Island to Chin for half a Bitcoin and the transaction was seal­­ed here yesterday with a 10% de­­posit paid via 0.05 Bitcoin (RM3,883.25).

At the time the deal was signed, a Bitcoin was valued at RM77,665.

Yee, who is a resort operator, turtle conservationist and owner of Malaysia’s first and highly successful Rumah Terbalik (Upside Down House) here, said it was just an ordinary sale and purchase agreement done in Bitcoin.

“It is about a new way of transferring money,” he said at the signing ceremony where online payments were made from Chin’s Luno wallet directly into Yee’s wallet.

The sale and purchase agreement, which was witnessed by a third party, would be sent to a lawyer for certification before application is made for the transfer of the land ownership at the Sandakan land office.

“I do not see a problem as we have a value of the land in ringgit and necessary stamp duty fees would be paid based on the value stated,” said Yee, adding that the remaining 0.45 Bitcoin would be paid once the transfer was completed.

Yee said the deal came about as they both discussed turtle conservation in Libaran.

“Chin wanted to play a role in turtle conservation and offered to buy a piece of land to get involved. We then decided to make the transaction using Bitcoin,” he added after the signing of the deal with Chin.

They noted that although Bank Negara had yet to devise clear guidelines on the use of cryptocurrency, there was no outright ban on its trading.

Bitcoin is one of the 1,375 cryptocurrencies being used as an electronic currency that has triggered controversy with many central banks across the world still yet to come out with clear policies.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said recently that there would be no blanket ban on cryptocurrencies as such action would only curb innovation and creativity in the financial sector.

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