Blockchain is Making its Way into Real Estate

In today’s Bitcoin frenzy, it’s hard to find an industry that isn’t getting disrupted by blockchain technology. There are innovative upstarts in every corner of the economy. And now, the real estate industry is beginning to see its day. News of the first “all-bitcoin” real estate transactions started coming in around September 2017, with a purchase in Texas. Shortly thereafter, several transactions occurred in the US and around the world.

There are also apartment rental platforms that take Bitcoin for payment and use blockchain for the rest of the leasing process. Contracts or leases with recurring payments are perfect examples of the type of transactions blockchain can support. One company is even attempting to unlock renters’ security deposits, currently frozen in bank accounts. It’s going to take a lot to replace the entrenched interests in the real estate industry, but there is plenty of opportunity.

The obvious first move will be to replace traditional title and recording services with blockchain, as Peter Grant lays out in this article. In fact, cities and states are already piloting the technology. The City of Chicago released a detailed report that found the technology had many potential uses. However, the conclusion is a harbinger for the adoption of the technology: “...it is not prudent to undertake any large conversion effort without knowing the commitment of the elected official who will ultimately run the combined office.” It seems that politics, like always, will play an outsized role in the technology's adoption.

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