A property firm is now allowing tenants to pay their rent using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Lettings management platform Mashroom will allow tenants to pay via cryptocurrency, and then convert it to pounds sterling before it is sent on to their landlord.
Mashroom claims it is 'moving with the times,' and says the crypto payment option will be a 'seamless process' for both renters and landlords.
Tenants will now be able to pay rent using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, with one letting agent
However, critics in the property industry have described it as a 'marketing gimmick' which could incur extra fees for tenants, as well as leaving them exposed if there is a sudden price fluctuation just before their rent is due.
Under the Mashroom system, renters will be able to pay via their preferred digital currency, which will be processed by a crypto payment service.
The cryptocurrency will then be converted into UK sterling and sent directly to their landlord.
Stepan Dobrovolskiy, chief executive and founder of Mashroom, says: '19 per cent of the homes in England are occupied by private renters, and for an increasing number of them, cryptocurrency is the payment method of choice.
'With such a large demographic, we have to move with the times to avoid alienating anyone, and accepting crypto payments is the natural next step for a business in 2021.'
Previously, few businesses were prepared to start receiving payments in cryptocurrencies.
But as the digital currencies have increased in popularity in recent years, acceptance has been steadily growing.
For example, the online travel agency Expedia, accepts bitcoin via a partnership with Coinbase, whilst the beauty retailer, Lush, accepts digital currencies as a form of payment on its website.
'Moving with the times': Lettings management platform Mashroom is now allowing tenants to pay their rent using their favourite cryptocurrency
In terms of platforms or lettings agents in the UK accepting digital currency, though, Mashroom is one of the first.
Remax, an American property group with offices in London, became the first to accept digital currencies for rental payments from tenants back in 2015.
Then, in February of this year, London and Essex-based estate agent PropertyVine began accepting crypto payment from its landlords and vendors.
Will it catch on?
The consensus among much of the property world is that paying your rent or buying a house using cryptocurrency will not become the norm any time soon.
'Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are things that many people have heard about, but more as a concept than a viable payment option,' says Anton Frost, head of Cambridge residential at Carter Jonas.
'It isn't conventional, but the fact that it is being considered for this purpose perhaps indicates a direction of travel towards its use becoming mainstream in the next ten years.
'Whilst there are obvious examples of organisations using crypto, it is not at all widespread in the estate agency world.'
Whilst many cryptocurrencies have soared in value, the price volatility will lead some to believe that it is too early to be accepting it as form of payment for vital services such as paying rent.
Bitcoin for example fell by 10 per cent over the course of one night this week, after Elon Musk announced via Twitter that Tesla will no longer facilitate vehicle purchases using the digital currency.
'There might be some people with significant crypto portfolios who want to use these to pay their rent, but of course the amount they pay will depend on the value of their chosen crypto in UK sterling, which can be very volatile,' said Tom Selby, senior analyst at investment platform AJ Bell.
'At this stage, most people view cryptos as an investment rather than a payment mechanism, so I suspect demand for this service will likely be low.
'Given most renters and landlords want at least a level of stability in terms of what they pay or receive, I really can't see what useful role crypto can play - not at the moment anyway.'
Virtual currencies are increasing in popularity, with some businesses starting to receive payments in cryptocurrencies - although it is certainly not the norm
There are also concerns that many landlords might be put off by tenants wishing to pay their rent using cryptocurrency.
'Someone opting to pay in cryptocurrency would likely be a red flag to many landlords, including those using the property to support their income,' said Frost.
'There is still concern, and in some cases suspicion, around someone choosing to use an alternative and unregulated payment method.'
There might be an extra fee for paying in crypto
Mashroom says that the payment method will be similar to a typical card purchase, where you input your payment details and the financial exchange is taken care of by a secure third party, before being returned to the landlord.
However, there will likely be a small transaction fee of between two to three per cent for the conversion from crypto to fiat currency.
This has some critics questioning how attractive this offering is in reality.
'This has the strong whiff of a slightly pointless marketing gimmick,' says Selby.
'If the person paying rent has their salary paid in pounds, and the landlord wants rent paid in pounds, then what role exactly is crypto playing in the transaction?
'If there is a two or three per cent charge each month, this means you're incurring substantial transaction charges to achieve precisely nothing.'
Ultimately it will come down to personal preference, but renters would be wise to consider whether they are comfortable risking their home on such volatile currencies.
'My advice to tenants thinking of signing up to such a scheme is seriously think about the downsides, and to bear in mind the volatility of the cryptocurrency markets,' said David Westgate, group chief executive of Andrews Property Group.
'We are talking about a market where it's not uncommon to see the price of particular cryptocurrencies swing 10 to 20 per cent in a day, and even more than that in some cases.
'It's so volatile and unpredictable, that tenants would be holding their breath just before rent day, worried that there might be a sudden price correction.
'A tenant could end up paying more rent one month because an unexpected change in market sentiment has resulted in the digital currency they hold falling.
'Perhaps you're betting on cryptocurrency continuing to rise in value, but paying your rent to keep a roof over your head is not something you should be gambling on.'
Mashroom are adamant, however, it that it is not encouraging tenants to gamble on the property they are renting.
'There wouldn’t be any gamble for the tenants, as it isn’t their investment. They can pay in whatever currency they wish to,' said Dobrovolskiy.
'For the landlord, they would receive the full amount of rent in fiat currency - unless they opt to receive the crypto payment, so there would not be any gamble on their side either.
'There is a new generation coming who require a new way of transacting, and we aim to offer them that service.
'Cryptocurrency may be a new thing, but it is here to stay and if stagnated industries don’t move with the times, they will be left behind.'