A mysterious Chinese buyer has just scooped up a fleet of rare Formula One (F1) cars, valued at around £4m in total, in a deal paid with cryptocurrency.
The sale of the four-car collection was orchestrated by Dadiani Syndicate, the UK's first marketplace to offer luxury assets solely for payment in cryptocurrency.
The flagship car is the 2011 Sauber Ferrari C30, raced by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez in the 2011 F1 season. Kobayashi achieved fifth place with the car at the Monaco Grand Prix.
“We are hugely excited to be conducting the sale of these exquisite machines in cryptocurrency. The introduction of the blockchain has created a new economy layer, which is yet to be fully realised – especially in international trade and cross-border transactions,” said Eleesa Dadiani, founder of Dadiani Syndicate.
“Cryptocurrency is not just about ‘getting rich’ – it is about facilitating trade and investment in a more transparent, decentralised way.”
The buyer paid for the fleet with litecoin, an alternative to the better-known bitcoin, which was created by former Google employee Charlie Lee. As the value of bitcoin has exploded, litecoin has seen its market value rise by more than 1,400 per cent this year.
Mike O'Connor, founder of F1 car dealership Heritage F1 which sold the cars, said there was “increasing demand for the purchase of luxury assets in cryptocurrency” and that the sale would be “just the first of many to come”.
For the petrol-heads
The head of the fleet, the Sauber Ferrari C30, boasts a carbon-fibre body, a 2,400 CC V9 engine and seven-speed semi-automatic carbon-fibre gearbox. It will also come with its matching transport lorry and truck.
All of the cars bought in the deal are in track-worthy condition, but may also increase in value. Since the introduction of quieter F1 cars with V6 turbo hybrid engines in 2014, demand for pre-V6 cars has rocketed – in some cases, their value has more than trebled.