Ben Shaoul uses Bitcoin to sell retail condo for $15M

Magnum Real Estate closed on East 89th Street space with a Taiwanese buyer

Magnum Real Estate Group's Ben Shaoul (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)
Magnum Real Estate Group's Ben Shaoul (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

Ben Shaoul has sold an Upper East Side retail condo for $15.3 million in Bitcoin.

The landlord, whose firm Magnum Real Estate Group is converting 389 East 89th Street from rentals to condos, sold the 11,400-square-foot space earlier this month, The Real Deal has learned. The buyer is a Taiwanese entity called Affluent Silver International LLC, according to a person familiar with the deal.

389 East 89th Street

389 East 89th Street (Credit: StreetEasy)

To complete the transaction the parties used Bitpay and Starr. Eric Hedvat, a broker with Jet Real Estate who represented Magnum, said it was a “seamless process.” Shaoul declined to comment.

Last year, Magnum went into contract with two other buyers in the building for residential condos using a Bitcoin transfer. One unit was a 624-square-foot studio with an asking price of $875,000, the other was a 989-square-foot one-bedroom with a $1.48 million price tag.

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Shaoul previously said that he would accept Bitcoin payments at another residential development, at 62 Avenue B in Alphabet City. However, that was walked back when he sold the unfinished building to Bronx-based investor Martin Shapiro last year for $82 million.

Bitcoin and other digital currencies are not widely accepted by sellers in large part because they fluctuate wildly in value. In the last 12 months alone, one Bitcoin has ranged in value from just over $3,000 to more than $12,000.

But it is being used with increasing frequency in real estate transactions in New York. Last year, ManageGo, a Brooklyn-based rental management company, announced it would accept cryptocurrency for payment.

Sometimes digital money is being welcomed in even more expensive listings. At 10 East 76th Street on the Upper East Side, Corcoran is marketing the five-story mansion for $29 million, and the seller will “accept payment in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple,” according to its listing.

Another mansion available for Bitcoin, at 40 Riverside Drive, is being marketed by Sotheby’s for $13 million.