The state of blockchain for the real estate sector is something like a years-long relationship without the wedding. When a man or woman sinks five years of their life into another person, they usually expect to take the next step. Whether that means popping the question or replying with a giddy “yes,” that investment of time ought to go somewhere meaningful.
Well, investment in blockchain-powered real estate platforms has been in the works for years. It’s time take the next step.
There are plenty of use cases for blockchain in real estate, but they’re mostly in the speculative or testing stages. Purchasing property using cryptocurrencies has been floated as a way to broaden the real estate markets.(see Bitcoin for real estate). Some believe that blockchain will automate security and verification processes when vetting applications. Fractional property ownership could bring greater liquidity to the real estate marketplace.
When will companies turn financial investment into tech platforms? When will use cases evolve into services that bring real value to brokers, agents, and buyers?
These are questions waiting to be answered. There’s no set timetable on innovation, but it’s high time to pop the figurative question.
1. Mike Cagney, CEO and Co-founder of Figure
“Like many areas of financial services, real estate seems to have a flurry of activity around blockchain, but not much is influencing the day-to-day business yet. There’s no shortage of pilots and proof of concepts, but that isn’t enough to drive change. The real estate (and financial services industry more broadly) require actual implementations that clearly demonstrate the security, viability, legal enforceability, and reliability of the platform. And, of course, everyone wants tangible evidence that it creates value — be it cost savings, improved liquidity, reduced risk, or speed to market.”
2. Perrin Quarshie, CEO and Founder at RealBlocks
“Most all have heard of blockchain in some respect, but many are still confused by its exact applications. After being touted as a panacea for all corporate ills, I think the state of the market, and the surrounding sentiment, is that we need to see results from all of these well-funded projects. There was a great study that Deloitte put together that sums it up perfectly: we’re “shifting from ‘blockchain tourism’ and exploration to the building of practical business applications.” Businesses are now fully expecting projects to deliver on the massive investment that’s occurred over the last 5 years.”
3. Michael Kelczewski, Realtor at Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby's International Realty
“Limited — tokenization and crypto-based payment only recently began to occur. As user adoption grows supported by Fintech advances, blockchain-based technologies will surely begin to reach critical mass.”
4. Paul Hagey, Executive Editor at T3 Sixty
“Real estate blockchain applications are just beginning to emerge. Many startups are testing new applications, with asset management and security applications gaining early traction.
Everyone has seen the splashy headlines announcing home purchases made with cryptocurrency, a high-profile blockchain application. While so-called cryptocurrency home purchases grab the popular imagination, those have essentially been all-cash transactions — before purchase, the buyer cashes out of the cryptocurrency and pays for the home that way. Blockchain technology will play much larger roles in other residential real estate areas, such as security and verification, which creates a secure central database that members can efficiently access and on which blockchain enables easy updating. Another promising blockchain real estate application includes fractional ownership, which streamlines trading of real property by leveraging blockchain’s secure, distributed features.”
5. Jitesh Keswani, CEO of e-Intelligence
“The blockchain is steadily progressing in the real estate industry. A recent property sale agreement between a Spanish seller and French buyer made use of cryptocurrency (ETH-ETH) to transfer property ownership via Propy’s transaction platform. This event shows that blockchain provides participating parties with mutual trust, as the records are immutable and encrypted, which allows them to keep their data safe.”
6. Mike Liddell, CEO of AssetBlock
“The real estate applications of blockchain are in a relatively nascent period. There is a lot of excitement surrounding what could be possible in the future and the practical applications are only just starting to be tested. This mirrors what's going on in blockchain and crypto generally. An important hurdle that needs to be cleared in all blockchain applications is drawing in non-crypto participants in a real way, both those looking to invest capital as well as established real estate professionals.”
7. Itzik Spitzen, CTO and Co-founder of LeasePilot
“The real estate industry is currently exploring and experimenting with blockchain in various areas, including checking boundaries. While many ideas are being raised and companies continue to experiment and some are moving toward practical application, there are few examples, if any, of blockchain being widely used just yet.”
8. Greg Bohenko, Acquisitions Manager at Samuels & Associates
“I believe a fraction of owners and management companies are waking up to this technology but aren’t convinced of its benefits. The sheer number of problems that this could solve is hard to comprehend without ‘early adopters’ proving the benefit. I see opportunity in lease transactions, purchase and sale transactions, financing, and management. All of these areas will benefit from the decentralized system that the blockchain provides, it’s just a matter of time.”
9. Edward J. Tolchin, Principal at Offit Kurman
“This question cannot be answered with a single response applicable across the real estate spectrum. Many blockchain platforms are moving forward in areas of the real estate industry. But, in most real estate areas, mainstream real estate professionals are only marginally involved in blockchain. The old ways still prevail.”
10. John Kang, Co-founder and CEO of Reasi
“The crypto-hype damaged its reputation, but the progress is real, and I remain bullish on the technology’s impact on real estate. The startups that survived post-hype and recent emerging projects don’t make the mistake of underestimating real estate domain expertise, which was generally lacking a year or two ago. Both the blockchain and real estate arenas are complicated and we’re finally seeing entrepreneurs that can meaningfully bridge the two worlds.”
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