Miami-based fintech startup Milo is introducing what it claims is the world’s first “crypto mortgage.” The digital bank will allow crypto investors to leverage their digital assets to purchase real estate in the United States.
At the moment, only customers wanting to use Bitcoin (BTC) as collateral qualify for Milo’s 30-year mortgage loan. Both American and international customers will be able to use the service to purchase real estate in the United States. Milo’s website states:
“Instead of selling your crypto for a down payment to qualify for a mortgage, a crypto mortgage lets you leverage your crypto to invest in real estate.”
Milo has already granted some loans as part of its early-access stage and expects the service will be available to most applicants on its waiting list in the coming months.
It remains unclear how much BTC will be needed to secure a loan, or the level of over-collateralization needed to balance out the digital asset’s volatility.
Josip Rupena, CEO and founder of Milo, said that the idea came in response to seeing the “countless stories” of people cashing out their BTC to purchase property, only to see it increase in value later on.
“The existing ways for crypto consumers to access home credit has left them with unintended tax liabilities of selling for a down payment or worse the opportunity cost of seeing their crypto increase in value.”
According to Milo, its other mortgage solution for foreign nationals has originated millions of dollars in loans already and has seen applicants from over 63 countries. It allows non-U.S.-based customers to close their housing loans remotely, without the need to travel to the U.S. or to an embassy.
Introducing Rupena at the North American Bitcoin Conference on Monday, pro-crypto Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said that the Bitcoin mortgage is a “groundbreaking achievement” for advancing U.S. dominance in the Bitcoin ecosystem.
“To become the Capital of Capital, Miami needs companies like Milo who are willing to innovate and ideate,” he added.
Milo isn’t the first company to have its sights set on a crypto mortgage.
In August 2021, United Wholesale Mortgage started testing the waters for crypto mortgage repayments with Ether (ETH) and BTC in a pilot program. However, by October, it had dumped its plans due to regulatory uncertainty.
Milo raised $6 million in seed funding from investors, including QED Investors, Metaprop and 10X Capital in January 2021.
Rupena has worked at multinational investment banking companies Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.