It has been just 12 years since Bitcoin was launched in 2009. The yachting industry started hearing serious buzz about the cryptocurrency in 2014, when Denison Yachting began accepting it. By 2018, Denison had closed two brokerage deals and a charter booking on a 120- to 130-foot motoryacht, all paid for in bitcoins, but overall, the industry’s adoption of bitcoin has remained slow, especially at superyacht levels.
Until now. In September, Camper & Nicholsons International announced that the owner of the 236-foot CRN Azteca is willing to accept bitcoin for the yacht, at an asking price of about $75 million. It’s believed that the 2010 build is the largest-ever yacht available for purchase with bitcoin.
“The owner of Azteca owns a bank and is a very big bitcoin dealer,” says Camper & Nicholsons International sales broker Fernando Nicholson. “I approached the idea with another client, and he asked me if I was drinking some kind of weird alcohol. But with the owner of Azteca, I think he is trying to attract the attention of the new, rich, young guys. The IT industry understands bitcoin, and those guys might make an offer if you talk in their language.”
Azteca’s owner already has a team of bitcoin-savvy attorneys, and they’re advising Nicholson, who says accepting bitcoin is the owner’s prerogative.
“We have a boat to sell, and the client can accept any kind of thing,” Nicholson says. “He can accept 10,000 pigs or a painting.”
The bitcoin option just might work. At the Monaco Yacht Show in September, Nicholson says, an American flew over specifically to see Azteca. “He was talking about bitcoin—he was talking about it a lot,” Nicholson says. “I think he’s in his 40s. It might happen, it might not, but I don’t believe it’s a fantasy.”
Azteca: A Big-Deal Yacht
Azteca is a high-volume yacht, with a beam just over 44 feet and gross tonnage of 2,043. When it launched in 2010, it was the largest vessel that Italy’s CRN shipyard had ever constructed. The sun deck spans more than 3,500 square feet, and the beach club is nearly 1,200 square feet with an outdoor bar. Accommodations are for as many as 20 guests, with quarters for 25 crewmembers.