A Dubai-based communications professional, Issac Banks, is attempting to trade his way up from Dh1 coin to a villa on Palm Jumeirah within the time of one year. He is again trying to reinstate the barter system.
Banks, aged 33, is from New Zealand and has launched The Dirham Project in late February as a social experiment to test how far a dirham can go.
He stated, “The goal is to go from a Dh1 coin all the way to a house on Palm Jumeirah. This is via a series of trades for all manner of goods and services.”
Banks got inspired by Kyle MacDonald, who is a blogger from Canada. In 2005 MacDonald traded a red paper clip all the way up to a house over the period of 14 trades in one year.
MacDonald made his first trade of a red paper clip in exchange for a fish-shaped pen on 14 July 2005. He achieved his goal of trading up to a house with his 14th transaction by trading a movie role for a home in the small town of Kipling in Saskatchewan province, Canada.
The venture then led him to trade up from a doorknob to a camping stove, a snowmobile, a generator and a recording contract.
MacDonald, meanwhile, got the idea from a game known as Bigger and Better.
He made a website for the project and also promised to visit potential traders wherever they wanted.
As per property consultancy CBRE, The Palm Jumeirah villas are the most costly properties in Dubai at Dh2,776 per square foot.
The rise in wealthy buyer demand pushed lavish home prices up by 44% in prime areas such as Jumeirah Bay Island, Emirates Hills and Palm Jumeirah last year, said, Knight Frank.
Issac Banks first made a trade of Dh1 in exchange for a Dubai keychain.
Till now, Banks has completed over five trades: for the Dh1 coin, he got a Dubai keychain, which he then traded for a Paw Patrol backpack, a Ted Baker laptop bag, then a signed Mercedes F1 hat with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s signatures, and now he has traded a jukebox.