You've likely heard about it on the news, read about it online, and, perhaps some of your friends invested in it. But chances are, most Canadians aren't aware that they can actually pay for their rent with bitcoin.
As of Wednesday, the Canadian rental platform liv.rent has added bitcoin as a form of payment, allowing tenants to pay their rent with cryptocurrency while the landlord receives fiat currency -- a government-issued currency that is not backed by a commodity such as gold.
The Vancouver-based startup says it has always evolved to suit the needs of its community, and offering bitcoin as a form of payment to renters will allow the company to bridge the gap between the world of cryptocurrency and the rental industry -- which has been typically slower in the adoption of new technologies.
“People are requesting more choices,” said liv.rent’s Director of Research & Development, Fuad Arafa. “We’re giving choices to the people.
Before we dive into how the new payment process works, let's go over what exactly bitcoin is. Long answer short, it's a cryptocurrency that does away with a central bank and uses encryption techniques to regulate funds. No third party is involved, so buyers and sellers can make transactions directly.
The bitcoin payment process is very similar to paying your rent with credit cards or UnionPay on liv.rent and can be done online or in-app. The innovative payment process works the same, with nominal fees involved, including a 0.5% liv.rent processing fee -- which is much lower than your typical credit card fee.
However, in order to enable the cryptocurrency payment, both the renter and the landlord must use the liv.rent platform.
Each month, when a tenant receives a payment request, they can go to liv.rent and pay with bitcoin. There are two options on the platform: pay directly through Coinbase or scan a QR code containing the address of a unique payment request, and then they can pay with the cryptocurrency wallet of their choice.
When a renter pays in bitcoin, it's transferred and later deposited as CAD into the landlord's bank account. With this new feature, landlords can appeal to a broader pool of potential tenants.
"For those who envision a world with completely decentralized financial systems, this is renting without borders," said the startup in a release.
The startup says it also supports newcomers by assisting them in securing a home in Canada before their arrival, and it hopes this new feature will break barriers by giving people a chance to fully embrace cryptocurrencies by using it to pay for rent -- one of the basics of life for more than four million Canadian renters.
liv.rent says the new bitcoin payment option is also much more affordable than the traditional wire transfer method, therefore alleviating the financial barriers that come with renting your first Canadian home.