We are experiencing a significant shift in the real estate industry, as more and more people are engaging in property transactions using Bitcoin. Many industry experts are excited about the potential for digital money and the blockchain technology when it comes to real estate. But although digital currency transaction is the future, industry insiders say that we are not quite there as yet. Digital money analysts are less convinced that the property market would more widely adopt the cryptocurrency.
Creation of value through blockchain technology
The blockchain is the culmination of all the platforms such as Napster, Skype, and BitTorrent that operate on peer-to-peer networks. It is the infrastructure of the digital currency and is described as an open, shared, and distributed ledger. A process known as cryptography creates digital currencies and additional units of them. It also verifies the transfer of assets and secures the cryptocurrency transactions in the blockchain.
Global peer network
The blockchain is a network that verifies every transaction, which then becomes a new block of data. Blocks are nothing but lists of linked records that keep growing continuously. When this data gets added to the blockchain, the recorded value is available to all the users of the network. This revolutionary technology is maintained simultaneously across millions of computers without any central data storage. In short, blockchain is a spreadsheet that can record verifiable transactions efficiently and permanently.
Value exchange network
Fans and advocates of the technology hail it as an efficient global network of value exchange. A very high level of security within the blockchain technology leaves no room for failure. Part of the efficiency is because of its ability to generate value for the community of keepers. In the real estate industry blockchain enables to store authentic online documents, draw digital smart contracts, and keeps the identities of the parties anonymous.
Authentic online documents
While accepting digital payments in real estate transactions is new, this cannot change the status quo. It can only change if the government used blockchain to store all the data of the industry there. If blockchain can facilitate moving land records to an immutable online ledger, no one could go back and manufacture records out of thin air. A huge benefit of such an initiative would be fraud prevention, which amounts to someone producing false paper documents that look authentic.
Digital smart contracts
If verified and quality data about potential buyers and properties were available on the blockchain, it is possible to draw intelligent treaties. These are legal agreements written in computer code with programmed rules to direct the flows of money. No more sit-downs between escrow agents, lawyers, and brokers to review paper documents. The system would have it all and would run smoothly and quickly, provided the data regarding properties and people in the blockchain is accurate.
Parties remain anonymous
Cryptocurrency payments offer anonymity because they are digital that in some cases require just an email address to acquire them. Blockchain could protect the buyer’s anonymity by allowing interested parties to ask questions without revealing who the person behind it was. The fact that the owners can also remain anonymous is a significant appeal to some in the luxury real estate market.
Bottlenecks of implementation
While all sounds great on paper, for everything to work seamlessly, it still needs a lot of things in place. The first challenge comes down to how to authenticate and qualify the data for the real estate sector. Moreover, there are severe logjams in the real estate industry with the manual dissemination and collection of data. Then there are questions about how to regulate or tax those purchases; how to deal with Bitcoin payments that stay in the native cryptocurrency, versus those that people convert to cash; and who has access to query and search data in the blockchain. Although blockchain and cryptocurrencies are here to stay, that will require stakeholders including real estate attorneys, escrow agents, and brokers to get involved.
Digital wealth creators
Nowadays there are smart platforms in the crypto industry that create wealth and value. The platforms allow people to lend Bitcoins and receive daily interest on the investment. But first Bitcoin has to be transferred to an account, and all transactions will have to be with Bitcoin.
Emerging crypto investment
The crypto business and the hype behind blockchain remind us clearly of the tech stock and dotcom manias of the 1990s. It sounds a bit like the early days of the Internet, which blossomed when investors were chasing the most speculative stocks that did not end well. Capital One, a software company, is a case in point that went public at $21/- a share. By the end of the year, the share price surged to $1,000/-, however, five years later it filed for bankruptcy.
Largest Bitcoin exchange
However great the promises, technology always have one mitigating factor, and that is humans. A few years ago, Mt. Gox, the Bitcoin exchange, built on the blockchain, burned and crashed. When it filed for bankruptcy, a large number of Bitcoins went missing from the accounts because of a problem with its code. Mt. Gox was not the only digital enterprise that went down. There were many others too. But that does not by any means mean that Bitcoin is a bubble waiting to be burst.
Concerns by authorities
As traders and investors have bid up Bitcoin’s price higher and higher, the Securities and Exchange Commission have suspended trading of some firms, most notably The Crypto Company. The Security Exchange Commission authorities cite concerns regarding the adequacy and accuracy of information about compensation paid and plans for insider sales. Lately, it has also taken steps to crack down on potential scams and frauds surrounding digital currencies, especially with initial coin offerings. The sale of a digital token to investors instead of stock is known as initial coin offerings. Several cryptocurrency officials are worried about the industry getting a bad name too. Hence they are willing to cooperate with Security Exchange Commission and other regulators to weed out bad actors.
Hopeful but cautious
There is a promising and emerging trend towards digital payments using blockchain. But investors need to be cautious and not chase small companies that are trying to ride the wave. Currently, Bitcoin’s adoption rate is about 1%, however with scarcity and demand comes value appreciation. So, as the adoption grows, there is hope that Bitcoin’s value will increase substantially. After all, many of today’s tech companies, such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple, survived the dotcom tragedy and are now doing better than before.
The blockchain is the system behind cryptocurrencies. A basic grasp of how it works will prove to be sufficient for now. But in the future, this knowledge would hardly be enough. The question is how to start, and the answer is first to have an understanding of the fundamentals of blockchain. With the growth of the industry, it is possible to reach mass adoption. Even if it fails, Blockchain is here to stay and is a big game changer.