Land deal in Sabah sealed using bitcoin

The deal, worth half a bitcoin ($12,600), was made between Alexander Yee (right), who is one of Sabah's top tourism entrepreneurs, and his friend Polycarp Chin.
The deal, worth half a bitcoin ($12,600), was made between Alexander Yee (right), who is one of Sabah's top tourism entrepreneurs, and his friend Polycarp Chin.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - While some merchants are still hesitant to accept cryptocurrency, one businessman in Sabah has agreed to be paid in bitcoin for a piece of land in Sabah's east coast Libaran Island.

The deal, worth half a bitcoin (about RM38,000 or S$12,600), was made between Alexander Yee, who is one of Sabah's top tourism entrepreneurs, and his friend Polycarp Chin.

Yee said he agreed to sell 1.219ha of land on Libaran Island for half a bitcoin and the transaction was signed in Kota Kinabalu on Monday (Jan 8) with a 10 per cent deposit paid with 0.05 bitcoin (RM3,883.25).

At the time, a bitcoin was valued at RM77,665.

Yee, who is a resort operator, turtle conservationist and owner of Malaysia's first Rumah Terbalik (Upside Down House) located in Sabah, said it was just an ordinary sale and purchase agreement done in bitcoin.

"It is about a new way of transferring money," he said at the signing ceremony where the online payment was made directly from Chin's Luno digital wallet to Yee's wallet.

The sale agreement, which was witnessed by a third party, would be sent to a lawyer for certification before application is made for the transfer of the land ownership at the Sandakan land office.

"I do not see a problem as we have a value of the land in ringgit and necessary stamp duty fees would be paid based on the value stated," said Yee, adding that the remaining 0.45 bitcoin would be paid once the transfer was completed.

Yee said the deal came about as they both discussed turtle conservation in Libaran.

"Chin wanted to play a role in turtle conservation and offered to buy a piece of land to get involved. We then decided to make the transaction using bitcoin," he added.

They noted that although Bank Negara had yet to devise clear guidelines on the use of cryptocurrency, there was no outright ban on its trading. Bitcoin is one of the more than 1,300 cryptocurrencies being used around the world.

Malaysia's Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani said recently that there would be no blanket ban on cryptocurrencies as such action would only curb innovation and creativity in the financial sector.