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Friday
Nov092018

Happy kleptocrats? This ultra high-end Swiss watch can only be bought with bitcoin

The Big Bang Meca-10 P2PLuxury Swiss watchmaker Hublot announced a new product this week: a $25,000 watch that can only be bought with bitcoin.

The timepiece, called the Big Bang Meca-10 P2P (yes, really), is in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper on bitcoin that kicked off the cryptocurrency. 

Hublot said it's "the first watch in the industry that can be bought directly from the watchmaker with bitcoin."

The partnership is a "fusion between top-notch Swiss watchmaking and cutting-edge FinTech," according to the company. 

Production of the Big Bang Meca-10 P2P will be limited to 210 pieces, around $5,250,000 in revenue for Hublot. 

Bitcoin is confusing, which may be why Hublot included a "purchase logistics" section in the Big Bang Meca-10 P2P information.

Screenshot from the Big Bang Meca-10 P2P information brochure

Hublot does include a "KYC & Confirmation" section in the purchase process. The level or type of KYC compliance isn't detailed. 

We reached out to Hublot for more details on the KYC process for the Big Bang Meca-10 P2P and haven't heard back. 

One of the major advantages of using bitcoin to launder money is the anonymous and decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is also hyper-portable -- billions of dollars can fit on a thumbdrive. 

The trend of high-end luxury goods combining with untraceable cryptocurrency is likely to increase money laundering risks.

"With the collaboration between Hublot and OS Limited (OSL), Asia’s leading digital asset brokerage, Hublot paves the way for both the watch and advanced technology industries," according to Hublot's site. 

You can buy the Big Bang Meca-10 P2P here

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Harry Cassin is the managing editor of the FCPA Blog.