For sale: Vancouver woman lists used car for eight Bitcoins
CTV British Columbia
Published Tuesday, January 14, 2014 4:35PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 14, 2014 6:49PM PST
A Vancouver woman is selling her used Volkswagen in exchange for the trendy new online currency known as Bitcoin.
Sarah Yu is making headlines for listing her white 2006 Jetta for just eight Bitcoin. That may not sound like a lot, but with one Bitcoin currently valued at $932, the asking price amounts to nearly $7,500.
But why not just ask for cash? “I believe in Bitcoin, I really do,” the 30-year-old told CTV News. “I think that cash is on its way out, cash is very devalued and Bitcoin is the future.”
The crypto-currency is an electronic way for people to pay each other or retailers for goods and services either over the internet or a mobile network.
Bitcoins can be bought in a number of places – a special ATM opened up at Waves coffee shop in Vancouver in late October – and through online and in-person meetups.
Yu said she considers Bitcoin an investment, despite the currency seeing high volatility over the last few months.
In late October, one Bitcoin was worth more than $200. One month later it skyrocketed to $1,200, then plummeted back down to $500 in December before rising back up to $932 per Bitcoin.
“It does have a reputation for being volatile, but I’m not worried at all. For me it’s a long-term strategy,” she said. “I’m not looking to buy some Bitcoin and sell it at a profit…it’s not like the stock market. It’s another form of currency to me.”
Bitcoin expert Graham Williams said more and more people are getting into using Bitcoin as the number of retailers who accept the online currency rises. According to Williams, everywhere from pizza parlours to shoe retailers to online gambling sites are beginning to accept Bitcoin.
“I think we will start to see people sell houses for Bitcoin,” he said. “It has intrinsic value to it, so seeing people who actually make transactions for high-value items – not surprising at all.”
But Williams doesn’t consider the currency to be mainstream yet – saying it must overcome a number of hurdles before that happens.
Because Bitcoin isn’t backed by a mint, transactions are not subject to the same regulations as other currencies. While every single transaction made using Bitcoin is posted publicly, the identity of the user remains anonymous -- making it hard to track perpetrators in the case of theft.
The now-defunct online drug market Silk Road was an early driver in Bitcoin’s growth, taking advantage of the currency’s ability to provide anonymity to users.
“I think that overcoming that stigma is going to be one of the main challenges for Bitcoin,” Williams said. “I think you’re going to see it stabilize as more ways for people to use Bitcoin come onboard…In the meantime it will be a little bit volatile, but I mean, even the dollar is volatile.”
According to Williams, only 21-million Bitcoins will ever be available.
Despite the risks, Yu said she’s sticking to her asking price and hopes she’ll get a buyer soon.
“It’s here to stay, so it’s just a matter of time before everyone else jumps on board.”
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Shannon Paterson