Mone and Barrowman’s Dubai Bitcoin property scheme: for holders with more bitcoins than sense

There’s a lot of money sloshing around desperately looking for a home these days. Sane investments aren’t returning enough, so some foolish investors think cryptos aren’t a sinkhole. There are even jawdropping tales of “financially sophisticated” investors mortgaging their house to buy bitcoins.

This fell into my inbox a couple of weeks ago:

This information is under embargo until 00:01 Wednesday 6th Sept

Baroness Michelle Mone OBE, the UK government tsar and entrepreneur and Scottish billionaire Douglas Barrowman are available to the media to brief them on their latest venture into the crypto-currency, Bitcoin. It involves a £250 million luxury property development in Dubai and the unique aspect of this is it is the first property development to be priced in Bitcoin (the crypto-currency) — which has seen huge focus this year, from companies, investors and governments alike.

Michelle and Doug will be happy to talk about the reasons why they are launching a business around Bitcoin which she views as the currency of the future. I think many would be interested in their thoughts.

As heads of their respective companies with a host of business successes behind them, I hope you will be interested in both the news and the interview, which can cover all the business angles especially the future of crypto-currency.

I hope you feel you would like to meet them and conduct an interview. I look forward to your reply.

I sometimes wonder at PR companies trying to declare unsolicited and unarranged “embargoes” when emailing non-fluff journalists.

Michelle Mone is a businesswoman (founder of lingerie company Ultimo) who was made a life peer in 2015. Her partner, Douglas Barrowman, is a venture capitalist. Neither has any past public record of crypto involvement, though Barrowman now claims some.

I first wondered if they’d been sucked into some sort of Dubai property scam involving Bitcoin — there was a dubious crowdfunding a couple of years ago — but their enterprise seems straightforward: they are pitching to crypto holders with more bitcoins than sense. Bitcoin itself is only involved as a publicity hook — they know better than to touch a bitcoin themselves:

The venture is accepting payments in bitcoin, with BitPay serving as payment processor.

Of course, this presumes BitPay can quickly get a single lump of a few hundred thousand dollars to pay them, keeping in mind that Bitcoin order books are terribly thin.

I tweeted about this after Mone touted it herself on Twitter (two weeks ahead of her own “embargo”), and was woken by frantic 8am phone calls from the PR. I didn’t post at the time because there wasn’t really a story yet, and I held off on the PR’s promise of talking to someone involved; but it’s possible they actually read the book or the blog, and decided to keep to outlets who would be keener on running unpaid advertisements. Journalistic August is twelve months a year now.

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