This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Real Estate series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and real estate.
In this interview we speak with Mark Lloyd, CEO of Max Property Group, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the real estate business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Max Property Group. Why and how did you begin?
ML: Max Property Group was founded by a group of real estate professionals from the Netherlands, the UK and Germany. We realised the need for low entry real estate backed investment opportunities for the general public, since the interest levels at banks are historically low and people are looking to invest in real estate, but don’t always know where to start. We also wanted to make the real estate industry as a whole much more transparent. We first structured a few property funds in which people can invest from €10,000, but soon realised that talking to a large number of investors on a daily basis was highly inefficient and wanted to automate that process. This is when we decided to set up Max Crowdfund, which is an International Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform.
2. Please describe your use case and how Max Property Group uses blockchain:
ML: Max Crowdfund is build on a child-chain on Ardor, the Max Property Group blockchain. Some of the founders had been looking at Blockchain technology for several years and we knew this could be used to speed up investment transactions and improve the transparency of real estate, amongst other things. The reason for choosing Ardor, is that it has a lot of the required functionalities out of the box, such as Singleton Assets to register properties on the blockchain, controlled assets to issue Security Tokens for the investment opportunities and a decentralised trading engine. Max Property Group will register the properties they manage as well as maintenance activities and the investment funds on their blockchain. This will allow for the registration of ownership of the properties to become transparent, the maintenance information to become public and the investment process to become efficient and a lot cheaper. Essentially once we are 100% operational we will no longer need estate agents, notaries, or even a land registry, but this is of course utopia and will take many, many years to establish.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
ML: As we are not licensed yet, we are only offering our own products on the platform at the moment, so the use cases are mainly in-house, but in our video you can hear one investor speaking about the ease with which he can now invest via Max Crowdfund. You essentially create an account, pass KYC, link a bank account and you can invest in real estate projects or property funds. From the moment you invest you start earning interest. No need for any human interaction.
4. What other blockchain use cases in real estate are you excited about?
ML: The one that excites everyone the most has to be the possibility of moving all real estate assets around the world on the blockchain. Transfers would take seconds instead of weeks/months and transfer costs would be negligible. Obviously some form of centralisation is required, as governments would have to be the final “vote” before a property could be transferred, but this can all be programmed and assigned. For example we would still go to a notary who would be the final signature in a multi-signature transaction, but once done the transaction is on the blockchain for everyone to see.
5. Where will Max Property Group be in 5 years?
ML: We would like to be the biggest real estate crowdfunding platform in Europe and one of the industry leaders regarding moving real estate, its ownership and maintenance records on the blockchain. There is a lot to do as it is of course a large project and a huge endeavour, but we are property people and we have the patience to work on this.