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Alberta man selling his $400,000 house for virtual money, rather than cash

The owner of this property for sale in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, will accept payment in virtual currency.

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The real estate listing shows a cozy house on a river in the Rocky Mountains.

But there's a twist: The owner of the two-bedroom bungalow is welcoming payment in an unregulated online virtual currency known as bitcoins.

"I really wanted to get my hands on some bitcoins and they happen to be quite hard to get if you want to get a large number of them," said Taylor More, whose family owns the Crowsnest Pass, Alta., home.

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Bitcoins, which were introduced in 2009 and are transferred from person to person without the use of banks, can be bought on online exchanges or traded for cash. They can also be acquired as a reward by those who use powerful computers to solve increasingly difficult algorithms.

Mr. More, a 22-year-old home-based currency trader and aspiring entrepreneur, only began buying bitcoins earlier this month. If he is able to sell his family's vacation property for bitcoins, he believes it would be the first such real estate transaction.

In addition to serving as a possible influx of bitcoins, he sees the listing as a means of "testing the waters" for possible new ventures.

While he won't reveal many details, Mr. More said one of the businesses he hopes to launch is an online real estate company that uses bitcoins as payment. He says he has support from a group of retired professional NHL players he knows through his father, Jayson More, a former defenceman who played on several teams in the 1990s.

When the younger Mr. More raised the idea of accepting bitcoins for the family's Alberta retreat, he says his father laughed. "I kind of just said, 'Let's be the first to do it. Let's be the first to try and sell some real estate for bitcoin and see what happens.' Once I explained it to him, he was on board."

The family listed the house for $405,000 earlier this week under the headline: "Bitcoin Home!" However, the listing makes clear the sellers would also accept traditional money. "If you had $405k I wouldn't turn you down but if a partial or whole transaction is done using Bitcoins the price can be reduced depending on how many Bitcoins you have to trade," it says.

Mr. More, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., says he has amassed a few hundred bitcoins and thinks their value will continue to increase. One bitcoin is currently worth about $70.

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Bitcoins are accepted as an alternate payment method on several websites, including WordPress and an eBay-like service called Bitmit. Proponents say they are a cheaper, easier way to make international payments.

Bitcoins use a network of computers, or nodes, that make monitoring transactions online much more difficult. They are favoured by people seeking privacy and are used on some gambling websites as well as Silk Road, a black market website that sells illicit drugs.

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