Amidst all the excitement about increasing prices, growing institutional adoption, and talk of Bitcoin being akin to digital gold, it is easy to forget that many crypto tokens—including Bitcoin—can be used to make real-world purchases.
But who cares about buying coffee with crypto?! We’re more interested in the big ticket items! Here’s a list of some of the most expensive things ever bought with crypto.
1. Trump SoHo Hotel Condo: 25,500 BTC
In May 2013, a one-bedroom condo in Trump’s New York hotel went on sale for 25,500 Bitcoin. The seller refused to accept any other form of currency.
At the time, 25,000 BTC gave the condo a USD price of $2 million; by the time the market’s all-time high arrived four years later, that figure had jumped to more than half a billion dollars.
It is unclear who eventually bought the property.
2. Chartered Jet: 54.95 BTC
If you’re a multi-millionaire, the last thing you want to do is travel with other mere mortals on a commercial airline. However, buying and upkeeping your own private jet is expensive, even for the mega wealthy. It’s much better to charter a jet when you need one.
In 2014, Bitcoin Foundation member Olivier Janssens paid 54.95 BTC to charter a private jet from PrivateFly.com.
3. Citizenship: 20+ BTC
Some countries have been quick to capitalize on the possibility of selling citizenship to wealthy individuals in exchange for Bitcoin.
Tellingly, the two trailblazers—Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean and Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean—both offer buyers an abundance of white sandy beaches, palm trees, and tropical waters.
A citizenship for Vanuatu costs 27 BTC; Antigua and Barbuda costs 20 BTC. The Vanuatu scheme is operated through an Australian agency whereas the government runs Antigua’s Bitcoin scheme.
4. Crypto Collectible: 600 ETH
Crypto collectibles fascinate us. The idea of taking traditional trading card games onto the blockchain is an enthralling one.
Of course, the most well-known crypto collectible is CryptoKitties. It lets you collect and breed unique digital cats, each of which would have its own set of attributes.
The two most expensive CryptoKitties sales are 600 ETH for a cat called Dragon, and 253 ETH for Founder Cat #18, one of the original CryptoKitties. At the time of the sale, Dragon was worth more than $170,000 USD.
5. Andy Warhol Painting: $1.7 million USD
In mid-2018, an Andy Warhol painting—titled “14 Small Electric Chairs”—was sold using blockchain technology. The use of a blockchain meant investors could own a partial stake in the famous piece.
The organizer, Maecenas, was willing to sell up to 49 percent of the ownership. In the end, it sold 31.7 percent for $1.7 million USD. Buyers could make their payments in either Bitcoin or Ethereum.
The final auction price for each share of the painting ownership was determined using a smart contract running on Ethereum.
6. Canadian House: 5,750 BTC
In terms of Bitcoin value, a Canadian house was one of the world’s most expensive single transactions.
The house, in Alberta, went on sale for 5,750 BTC. At the time of the listing in 2013, 5,750 BTC was worth about $400,000 CAD.
Of course, the all-time high inflated that figure to $115 million. Let’s just hope the seller, Mr. Taylor More, held the Bitcoins in a secure hardware wallet and didn’t opt to pump it all back into another property purchase.
7. Education: 20+ BTC
Education is another business sector that’s been quick to understand crypto’s potential. Several universities around the world are accepting payment in Bitcoin.
The University of Nicosia in Cyprus was the first to make the leap in 2013. The first American organization to come onboard was King’s College in 2014. It costs upwards of $35,000 per semester.
Today, many more universities and colleges offer Bitcoin payments. They include the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin Germany and The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland.
Perhaps we can all sleep easy knowing that our kids’ futures are in such forward-thinking hands.
8. Tesla Model S: 91.4 BTC
A Lamborghini dealership in California became one of the first places in the country to sell a new car in exchange for Bitcoin when it accepted a 91.4 BTC offer for a Tesla Model S in 2013. At the time, it put the price of the Tesla at a little over $100,000.
According to the LA Times, the dealership’s sales manager, Nick Jones, was left a little overwhelmed by the whole process:
“It was a little odd. For me, it was very odd. I didn’t know much about Bitcoin, but I never want to turn away business or tell a customer ‘no’ until I’m sure that I can’t do what the customer is asking me for.”
9. Yacht: 12,000 ETH
Denison Yachting is a shipbuilder based in Florida. In 2018, it started accepting crypto payments. CEO Bob Denison was seemingly an advocate of crypto adoption.
He told CNBC that “It is our job as salesmen to make shopping as easy as possible. It’s just an effort to adapt to the customer to offer payment in cryptocurrency.”
Denison has reportedly sold one of his newest models, the m90 Panacera, for 12,000 ETH. That gives the boat a USD value of more than three million.
10. Pizza: 10,000 BTC
We know it’s old news, but we have to mention it. In May 2010, a programmer purchased two large Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 BTC.
At the time, 10,000 BTC was only worth $30; it was more or less the going rate for pizza delivery. Of course, by the time the all-time high rolled around in late-2017/early-2018, that pizza was suddenly worth nearly $200 million.