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 Robert Zwink, CEO and co-founder of SafeChain, to understand how this company is using blockchain to transform the real estate business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind SafeChain? Why and how did you begin?
RS: The real estate and title industry are the stewards of the last paper-based transactions, property transfer. There are many reasons why paper is so pervasive, and we believe that distributed ledger technology can solve many of them.
2. Please describe your use case and how SafeChain uses blockchain:
RS: The application of blockchain to property transfers is the single best use case after cryptocurrency. We believe that property rights and property law must stay as secure and relevant as humanly possible. The user cases we are focused on today are securing wire instructions after they have been communicated and allowing title offices to share prior title insurance policies. These applications of blockchain allow SafeChain to offer meaningful solutions to real problems while moving the industry closer to fully digital property transfers.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
RS: Our product SafeWire is live in 22 states in the US, and our customers use SafeWire to securely communicate wire instructions to buyers and sellers in a real estate transfer. Wire fraud via business email compromise is a growing problem. Over the past four years, the FBI has reported $26B in wire fraud losses. Our customers are title offices, buyers and sellers across the US benefit from fraud-free property transfers.
4. What other blockchain use cases in real estate are you excited about?
RS: SafeChain is excited to be a market maker for the exchange of digital assets. This market can then be used by mortgage banks to package mortgage back securities seamlessly. Once the process of real estate transfer has been made more digital and efficient, many parties will benefit from additional liquidity.
5. Where will SafeChain be in 5 years?
RS:Over the past two years, SafeChain has been moving towards a mountain in the distance, which is a 30-second property transaction. The path requires meaningful solutions to problems in the market today. In five years, SafeChain will have solved many of the challenges the industry had assumed where intractable. These solutions will allow for a significantly higher number of fully digital real estate transfers end to end.