Lingerie tycoon plans £250 million Dubai property sale using bitcoin

Lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone plans to offer a £250 million development in the heart of Dubai for sale to purchasers using Bitcoin. (@MichelleMone)
Updated 09 September 2017
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Lingerie tycoon plans £250 million Dubai property sale using bitcoin

LONDON: Lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone and partner Doug Barrowman plan to offer a £250 million development in the heart of Dubai for sale to purchasers using bitcoin.

The businesswoman who founded the Ultimo lingerie range and was nicknamed ‘Baroness Bra’ when she became a British parliamentarian, has launched a site offering the first property development for sale using the crypto-currency.

She has teamed up with Doug Barrowman, the chairman of the Knox group of companies to launch Aston Property Ventures.

“I am thrilled to be launching a project of this scale as a step in the property development business. This is also a natural progression from the launch of Michelle Mone Interiors – bringing together my two passions in business for the first time; design and property,” said Baroness Mone.

Investors are being offered 150 apartments located in Dubai Science Park which are being developed by Dubai-based Aston Developments. The project is due to complete in Sept. 2019.

Studio apartments will start from 27 bitcoins ($124,000) with packages for interior design services and furniture available using bitcoins.

Aston claims investors can expect to receive rental returns of nine percent following handover.

“I wanted to offer the property, tech and blockchain community a unique and exclusive opportunity by merging the property and tech sectors together in a true first for the industry,” said Doug Barrowman. “Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in a few short years means it’s now the world’s leading cryptocurrency. This is exactly why we are the first property development ever to be priced in Bitcoin.

After a rampant rally in recent months, bitcoin has fallen sharply since Sept.1 losing about 20 percent against the dollar.

The launch of the bitcoin property development in Dubai comes just days before the annual Cityscape property exhibition where developers compete to grab the headlines surrounding the latest real estate launches.

Competition for investors is expected to be fierce amid a subdued residential property market where a glut of new homes is weighing heavily on prices.

In 2016, house prices in Dubai fell by between eight and 11 percent, according to credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s, which forecasts a continued fall in property prices and rents across the emirate throughout 2017.


Time to tear down Mideast trade barriers, Davos panel hears

Updated 23 January 2019
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Time to tear down Mideast trade barriers, Davos panel hears

  • Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, Saudi minister of economy and planning, said a move to ease movement of traffic across the border could be followed elsewhere
  • Majid Al Futtaim CEO Alain Bejjani: Now there’s this seriousness between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, I hope it gets to frictionless trade

DAVOS: Amid global trade wars and the rise of protectionism, Middle East economic and business leaders on Tuesday issued a clarion call for the exact opposite: To ease customs restrictions in the region.
A panel at Davos heard how an agreement between Saudi Arabia and the UAE to boost cooperation — including the reduction of obstacles to trade across the shared border — could be a blueprint for the wider region.
Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, Saudi minister of economy and planning, said a move to ease movement of traffic across the border — partly through the use of technology — could be followed elsewhere. “We want to establish a reference for others to follow,” he said.
Alain Bejjani, CEO of retail and leisure group Majid Al Futtaim, said “frictionless trade” would give the region a boost.
“Now there’s this seriousness between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, I hope it gets to frictionless trade,” he told Arab News on the sidelines of the Davos forum.
Bejjani declined to say whether that would involve a customs union, a common market or a common currency. Given the imposition of trade tariffs between the US and China, and the rise of Brexit, globalization — something espoused by many Davos delegates — is seen as on the wane.
But Bejjani said breaking down barriers in the Middle East could help it better compete with Western Europe and the US.
“For the past almost century now… we’ve been ingeniously working on making sure we put barriers across the Arab world. The reality is we have a market that’s as big as most of the largest markets in the world… if we’re smart enough to work together,” he told the Davos panel.
Khalid Al-Rumaihi, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, agreed that Saudi-UAE cooperation was “a great template” for others to follow.
Aside from “opening up” Middle East markets, Al-Rumaihi said harmonizing regulation in the region would also be beneficial to businesses and entrepreneurs.
“If the rules are changing in each country, if they’re not harmonized, it’s very difficult… for an entrepreneur (to understand) the regulatory environment. So they don’t scale very quickly, and that’s something we need to solve,” he said. Talk of freer trade within the Middle East is especially relevant when it comes to the Palestinian territories, which are subject to Israeli occupation and blockade.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said freer movement and a reduction of duties would help the economy grow.
“We need to see our products being waived (of) customs,” he said. “We need mobility — we’re under occupation.”