Location, location, location. Overshadowed by the hallowed walls of Lambeau Field, one of the “Packer houses” — properties adjacent to the stadium’s lot known for hosting championship-worthy parties — has gone up for sale.
Asking price: $1 million, just shy of 8 percent of Aaron Rodgers’ 2017 salary. But there’s a twist: you need to buy it with a web-based cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
The current owner of the house in question, Chris Murphy, bought the home seven seasons ago from its original owner who’d lived there since 1956, the same year the stadium was built. Murphy, a third-generation season ticket holder and Green Bay-native, uses the property to entertain friends and family.
“You could throw a football from my backyard into Lambeau Field,” Murphy says. “You’re partying with the people who are tailgating.”
Located at 910 Stadium Drive in Green Bay, the three-bedroom house sits on a one-fifth acre lot and features a full bar in the living room. The price isn’t unprecedented either; another house just off of Lombardi Avenue asked a starting price of $999,000 in September.
Murphy is a tech junkie who was an early investor in Facebook. When the social media platform took off, it put him in the position to purchase the house, satisfying a dream he’s had since riding his bike to Lambeau as a kid. However, he no longer lives in Titletown and can’t always return home during the season.
Murphy, a career investor, is irate about how many crypto-traders are shortsightedly “trying to make a quick buck” online, which has led to heavy fluctuations in the value of cryptocurrencies, making it difficult to use them for everyday exchanges. A grocery store, for example, can never know how many bitcoins to charge for a 6-pack of Miller Lite if its value changes more frequently than the Chicago Bears’ starting QB.
Murphy plans to reinvest the money made from the sale and donate the first $1 million produced from those investments to ecofriendly projects and/or underserved communities.
He hopes sales like this one can also help bring stability and attention to cryptocurrencies, since he considers them to be “a better currency system than what’s out there.” There are actually thousands of cryptocurrencies, but few are considered stable or reliable.
The house is listed on Propy.com, a real estate website that specializes in “investment opportunities” and has made similar sales in the past, including a sale using Ethereum last September. The first widely known attempt at a crypto-real estate sale was in 2013 in Long Island, New York.
“I’m going to be one of the first people to put something up that’s of significant value,” Murphy says. “I’m going to do this sale entirely on the blockchain … I want the public to know that it can be done.”
Blockchain is the technology that allows cryptocurrencies to exist. In blockchain exchanges, a ledger is shared amongst all those in a deal, so that any inconsistencies are immediately identified and prevented before any theft or Ponzi schemes can occur. Any changes to a deal need to be approved by all parties involved, making it effectively impossible to “tamper with the books.” There aren’t any middlemen; not even system administrators can make changes without approval, essentially making wire fraud impossible.
Blockchain can even be used for tangible exchanges, like the trading of diamonds, in addition to monetary moves. NASDAQ started utilizing blockchain technology “to reduce risk and prevent fraud” within the stock market in 2015.
Crpytocurrencies have slowly begun creeping into the mainstream in recent months. As of September 2017, nearly 80 percent of Americans had heard of Bitcoin, although only 14 percent say they’ve used it.
Bitcoin became the first currency to use blockchain, and thus became the first “cryptocurrency,” in 2009, and it is still the largest by far. Its market cap surpassed $100 billion in October of last year. According to CoinDesk, a $1 USD investment in Bitcoin in July 2010 would be worth nearly $300,000 USD now. Its value increased 2,000 percent between December 2016 and December 2017 alone.
Despite the growing valuation, $100 billion makes up a tiny portion of the world’s wealth. There are approximately $1.6 trillion worth of U.S. banknotes and coins in circulation today. All the cash, deposits and liquid assets in the world — essentially everything with a monetary value — adds up to more than $75 trillion. Bitcoin accounts for little more than one-tenth of one percent of that.
There’s still plenty of uncertainty with cryptocurrencies, as there is with all monies. Propy Founder and CEO Natalia Karayaneva knows a crash is possible, but she doesn’t see a run on the (virtual) bank coming any time soon. “Maybe it will crash. But before it crashes, it will be a 2 or 3 trillion dollar market.”
Long before that happens, she expects Murphy’s Packer house to sell. Potential buyers have already come a-knockin’ and the webpage has received thousands of clicks, she says.
Karayaneva predicts sales like this one will become increasingly common in the near future. Other than the hyped-up safety measures, it’s also a speedier process. The exchange between Murphy and whoever buys the Packer house would take about 10 minutes online. If you had to include banks, checks and paperwork, it could take several days.
Of the “cryptocommunity,” Karayaneva says, “They don’t want to go back to banks.”