Mortgage Lender Abandons Bitcoin Payment Plan

Homebuyers in the United States appear uninterested in paying their mortgage with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

United Wholesale Mortgage, which went public in January following a special purpose acquisition (SPAC) merger, began testing cryptocurrency payments in August, a first for the sector. However, CEO Mat Ishbia tells CNBC that the company determined that it was not worth the investment after testing it.

“Given the current state of added expenses and regulatory uncertainties in the crypto area, we have determined that we will not expand beyond a pilot at this time,” Ishbia explained.

The Michigan-based mortgage company tested the procedure using three distinct types of cryptocurrency – bitcoin, ether, and dogecoin – and various borrowers. In September, UWM took its first cryptocurrency mortgage payment, followed by five more in October.

However, the demand was eventually non-existent. According to Ishbia, borrowers “thought it was neat,” but the ability to deal in cryptocurrency “wasn’t a motivator.”

“At the end of the day, there was not enough demand to truly push the boundaries,” he explained.

Indication of Bitcoins

More proof that many bitcoin users see the currency as an investment rather than a payment method. In spite of the recent rise in cryptocurrency prices, they rarely used to buy or sell physical goods. Rather than that, most investors adopt a “HODL” (hold on for dear life) mentality, in which they are buying and retain virtual coins in the belief that their value would increase. That’s been a solid bet over the last year – bitcoin is now worth more than five times what it was a year ago, while ether is up more than tenfold.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler have stated that they have no plans to impose limits on bitcoin trading. However, the proposed infrastructure law includes new reporting requirements for cryptocurrency “brokers,” and notable firms in the industry, including Coinbase and Andreessen Horowitz, have requested additional clarity from regulators.

UWM

The nation’s second-largest mortgage lender, behind Quicken, the Detroit-based lending behemoth owned by Rocket Companies. It operates only through wholesale channels, which means it employs a network of brokers that connect consumers with house loans.

The company’s balance sheet does not include any cryptocurrency. At the time of the transaction, UWM changed the tokens it received to fiat cash.

Some of the six trial participants may now owe taxes on their bitcoin payments.

Paying a mortgage in crypto taxed due to the IRS’s definition of digital currencies as property.

There is always a disparity between the price you paid for the cryptocurrency, which called the cost basis. The market value at the time you spend it, which is called the market value. This discrepancy may trigger income capital gains taxes in addition to other taxes, such as sales tax.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that whenever you spend cryptocurrency on a cup of coffee or any other consumer item, you trigger a capital gains event,” said Shehan Chandrasekera, a CPA and head of tax strategy at CoinTracker.io, a digital currency tax software company that assists clients in tracking their cryptocurrency across virtual wallet addresses and managing their associated tax obligations.

UWM may resurrect the project in the future if sufficient borrowers express interest.

According to Ishbia, when cryptocurrency becomes more ubiquitous, “we will be able to turn it on at any time”. We now know how to accomplish it.

United Wholesale Mortgage ditches its plan to accept bitcoin, ethereum (cnbc.com)

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