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San Francisco tech investor is offering apartment leases as NFTs – SF Gate

San Francisco’s ultra-competitive rental market has slowed down significantly during the pandemic, especially for non-traditional, multi-person housing. One owner of a co-living space in the Mission is trying an innovative solution to get leases signed, banking on the rising popularity of NFTs and cryptocurrency.

This very Bay Area solution to a Bay Area problem will be tested starting May 5 by early cryptocurrency evangelist Jered Kenna. On that date, leases for rooms in his co-living community will be auctioned off starting at $300,000 (or around 108 Ethereum coins), as first reported by the San Francisco Business Times

The long-term leases will be converted into nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, and the highest bidders will receive exclusive digital rights to the space for 75 years. Around 20 rooms are available, though none include their own bathroom or kitchen.

“I’m going to auction off the NFT and whatever it sells for it sells for,” Kenna told the Business Times. “Is it going to be a million dollars? I doubt it. Is it going to be hundreds of thousands of dollars? I would assume so.”

Kenna said tenants are essentially owners under this new agreement. One of the touted benefits to NFTs is their transferability with accounting from the blockchain, which would allow lease holders to transfer their rooms like a sublet if need be.

While Kenna was an early investor in Bitcoin and even once owned a Bitcoin exchange, he had a rough year in 2016 when his identity was stolen and hackers allegedly took off with all his Bitcoin, robbing him of millions. He hopes to use the proceeds from the NFT auction to pay off debt on the building.

The shared living space, dubbed 20Mission, has 41 rooms and is located at the corner of Mission and 20th Street. Kenna converted the former single-room-occupancy hotel in 2012 to create the space aimed at techies and artists. The single rooms typically rent for around $2,000 per month.

While $300,000 isn’t cheap for a room without its own kitchen or bathroom, Kenna still thinks it’s a deal. “Show me what else you can get for 300 grand in San Francisco,” he told the Business Times.

Jered Kenna did not respond to request for comment from SFGATE.

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