UK super couple, Baroness Michelle Mone of Mayfair OBE and Doug Barrowman are now property pioneers, announcing the world’s first Bitcoin-priced development in Dubai.
The £250 million development, Aston Plaza, includes two luxury apartment towers and shopping mall in the heart of Dubai’s up and coming Science Park. This is the first joint business venture between the two business leaders, serial entrepreneur Baroness Mone and businessman and philanthropist Barrowman, the chairman of the Knox group of companies. The initial tranche of 150 apartments is available to the cryptocurrency community to buy directly from the property developer in Bitcoin, marking a global first.
“I’ve been involved in crypto for some time now, actively for two years now, so I’m really comfortable with cryptocurrency. I see Bitcoin as a the gold standard for blockchain technology,” he tells GrowthBusiness.
“There are a lot of people in the crypto-community who have done really well with the rise of the Ethereums and the Bitcoins of the world. But very often they diversity their profits into ICOs or other forms of digital currency. I thought it’d be a nice option to allow them to diversity those gains and holdings into mainstream assets and there’s certainly nothing safer than bricks and mortar as a diversified asset. We’re offering it at a 15 to 20 per cent discount for the crypto-community, as they often like incentives for early adoption.”
Through this Bitcoin-based approach, Barrowman hopes to open up the mysterious, almost closed world of blockchain investment into the mainstream. “If we sell at least 50 units via Bitcoin, they’ll be eligible to enter a draw for an apartment.”
“Doug and I are both trailblazers in our own business sectors, so of course we wanted this to be different, unique and exciting – not just in the world of property, but also tech,” Baroness Mone says. “This is why it is the first-ever development to be priced in Bitcoin. This is a launch of many ‘firsts’ in business and I look forward to an exciting project ahead for myself, Doug and the team.”
The power couple met through their mutual love for technology and growth industries. “We met through the tech world,” she tells GrowthBusiness. “Although we grew up in Glasgow three miles apart, we didn’t meet till last year when we invested into Socialsuperstore (now WeShop).”
Aston Plaza marks the couple’s first joint venture combining property with technology.
“Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in a few short years means it’s now the world’s leading cryptocurrency. This is exactly why we are the first property development ever to be priced in Bitcoin. I believe, as it gains mainstream adoption, many will follow our lead on this,” adds Barrowman. “I would, as I have done throughout my career in business, like to be the one who starts the trend, a very exciting one at that.”
Aston Plaza is due for completion in September 2019, and will include 1,133 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The apartments will be fitted out by Michelle Mone Interiors, while the commercial property, three floors of retail space, will host a number of shops and leisure areas under the ‘Best of Britain’ theme.
According to the couple, investors can expect to receive generous 9 per cent rental returns on their investment after completion. Bitcoin payments platform BitPay, which already provides payment tools for the likes of Microsoft and Virgin Galactic, will be processing the bitcoin transactions for the project.