A new form of online currency is being used to buy nearly everything - including a $500,000 home in Olathe.
When Josh Zerlan went looking for a new home, he originally didn't think about using a bitcoin to buy it.
"It's like the internet in 1994. Nobody knew what to do with it, but they knew it was pretty cool," he said. "This seemed like a good test of how far the currency has come."
Bitcoins are online digital currency that started in 2009. The digital money is acquired from an online dealer.
Zerlan had already bought two cars, among other things, with them. So he wondered if he could purchase a house.
"It is a real hassle to transfer large sums of money and then the banks take their cut. They take a fee, you end up paying quite a bit of money. With bitcoin, you don't have to pay any of those fees, and it is an instant transfer," he said.
Home sellers Tim and Virginia Hoelting admit the transaction was scary.
"We kind of tip-toed through it with Josh. We were real comfortable with his knowledge of it, so we took the plunge," Tim Hoelting said.
For those who don't know what a bitcoin is, they are not alone.
Worldwide, it is estimated that only about 1.2 million consumers use bitcoins, although more than 30,000 businesses currently take them online.
And the bitcoin is growing. EBay is currently considering ways to start accepting it as payment through PayPal.
The MLS soccer franchise, the San Jose Earthquakes, accepts bitcoins to purchase tickets and beer at their home games.
Zerlan said it takes about six months to really understand how they work. He urges people to research them first.
"Once they understand it and start using it, it is amazing," Zerlan said.
Zerlan said his bitcoins have made him feel right at home.
In December, one bitcoin was worth more than $1,100, today it is worth about $470, up from just $100 a year ago.
Bitcoin are volatile right now, so anyone interested in bitcoins are urged to research them first.
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