Tampa-area home billed as first in US to be sold as an NFT

The four-bedroom house, paid for in cryptocurrency, went for the equivalent of $654K

6315 11th Ave Gulfport (iStock, Heckler Realty Group, Illustration by Shea Monahan for the Real Deal)
6315 11th Ave Gulfport (iStock, Heckler Realty Group, Illustration by Shea Monahan for the Real Deal)

From the listing, it looks like a typical four-bedroom house, one of countless in Gulfport, Florida, a city just west of St. Petersburg. But a recent sale in which the property was auctioned for the equivalent of $654,310 has it being billed as the first home in the U.S. to be sold as a non-fungible token.

Leslie Alessandra, a local real estate investor and founder of blockchain company DeFi Unlimited, sold the home at 6315 11th Avenue South last week for 210 ethereum, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Alessandra, who paid $250,000 for the house in January 2021, according to local property records, told the publication she wanted to use the property to highlight the real-life capabilities of blockchain technology.

A user named “A.J.” bought the house in an hour-long extension of a Feb. 10 online auction. The buyer’s first name is Amanda and the person is U.S. based, said Natalia Karayaneva, CEO of the real estate transaction firm Propy, which helped facilitate the deal.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are generally used to sell digital collectibles like art and music, whose ownership can be transferred and verified through the blockchain — a decentralized and secured log on the internet.

In this case, the property rights were transferred to an LLC called Never Forget to HODL — acronym that stands for “hold on for dear life” and is commonly used by crypto traders.

The company was “minted” into an NFT, allowing the rights to the property to be stored on the blockchain. It had to be paid for in ethereum, a cryptocurrency commonly used for smart contracts and NFTs, even though the bidding was based on the U.S. dollar.

Technically, “A.J.” didn’t buy the house, but Never Forget to HODL LLC did.

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Propy plans to mint 10 more properties across the U.S. as NFTs, Karayaneva said. Its next listing is a condominium in Tampa, which will hit the blockchain market March 2. Its current value is between $200,000 and $300,000.

The Gulfport home was expected to draw attention as the first-known NFT sale in the U.S. real estate market.

Propy said it postponed the sale for two days due to high interest. Nearly 3,000 bidders signed up for the online auction, and 50 were officially verified by the firm, Karayaneva said. Bidding for the auction began at $650,000.

The Spanish-inspired house in Gulfport has four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, a bright blue door, large oculus windows and an iron dinner bell in the front yard.

The auction included a commissioned mural by a local artist, which was minted into an NFT.
Derek Donnelly, known as Saint Paint, painted a pelican, the symbol of St. Petersburg, and titled the artwork “Pelicoin Mint.”

[TBT]Dana Bartholomew

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