Propillo: Blockchain – The Future of Property Sales?

With the benefits of blockchain technology ever-expanding, people have often asked the facetious question: “Yes, but can you live in it?”

Unless​ ​you​ ​manage​ ​to​ ​upload​ ​your​ ​consciousness​ ​into​ ​your​ ​laptop​ ​next​ ​time​ ​you​ ​are​ ​at Starbucks,​ ​then​ ​the​ ​simple answer​ ​is​ ​no.

Or​ ​is​ ​it?

While it may not be possible to live in the ‘blockchain’ as a concept, the benefits the technology can provide certainly have the potential to revolutionise the housing market in the UK.

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What​ ​is​ ​Blockchain?

Imagine​ ​a​ ​world​ ​where​ ​everyone​ ​has​ ​to​ ​agree​ ​something​ ​is​ ​correct​ ​for​ ​it ​to​ ​be​ ​so.​ ​No​ ​ifs, buts​ ​or​ ​maybes.

Blockchain​ ​is​ ​a​ ​digital​ ​record​ ​of transactions, where the movement of any asset between owners is logged and distributed​ ​across​ ​a​ ​large​ ​network​, ​with​ ​identical​ ​copies​ ​of​ ​the information​ ​stored​ ​over​ ​huge​ ​numbers​ ​of​ ​computers in​ ‘​blocks’, hence the name. ​These​ ​blocks​ (​and​ ​the​ ​information​ ​inside)​ ​are kept​ ​safe​ ​from​ ​tampering​ ​by​ ​cryptography. It’s also the technology behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

How is safety ensured?

Since the information is public, everyone involved benefits from keeping it honest – meaning it’s easier to spot issues as they arise. The example often cited is that of a story.

Imagine​ ​telling​ ​a​ ​story​ ​to​ ​500​ ​people.​ ​Over time, ​the​ ​story​ ​will often end up being ​changed​, ​either​ ​accidentally​ ​or​ ​deliberately.​ ​However,​ ​on​ ​the​ ​blockchain,​ ​everyone is telling the same story, so if 499​ ​people​ ​are​ ​telling​ ​one​ ​version,​ ​and​ ​1​ ​person​ ​has​ made​ ​a​ ​few​ ​changes​ ​to suit​ ​their​ ​own​ ​purposes,​ ​it’s obvious who is at fault.

Effectively​ ​this​ ​allows​ ​the​ ​network​ ​to​ ​act​ ​as​ ​a​ ​trust​ ​mechanism​ ​without​ ​the​ ​need​ ​for​ ​any​ ​centrally-housed​ ​authority​ ​(​big​ ​banks,​ ​government​ ​etc).​ ​Welcome​ ​to​ ​decentralisation.

Smart contracts

One of the biggest benefits from the blockchain is ​the​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​create​ ​‘smart​ ​contracts’​, which​ ​allow​ ​for​ ​specified​ ​cause​ ​and​ ​effect -​ ​if​ ​X​ ​occurs​, ​then​ ​Y​ ​should​ ​happen.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​automatically​ ​enforced​ ​by​ ​the​ ​code​ ​and​ ​cannot​ ​be tampered​ ​with​ ​by​ ​any​ ​party. As you might already have guessed, this makes it perfect for selling and buying property.

Blockchain​ ​and​ ​housing

It​ ​is​ ​well​ ​known​ ​that​ ​we​ ​are​ ​crazy​ ​for​ ​property​ ​here in​ ​the​ ​UK.​ ​The​ ​property​ ​market​ ​is​ ​worth​ ​around £6,000,000,000,000​ ​(that’s​ ​6​ ​trillion)​ ​depending​ ​on​ ​whose​ ​statistics​ ​you​ ​choose​ ​to​ ​go​ ​by.

Strangely​ ​though,​ ​we​ ​still have​ ​a​ ​house​-buying​ ​process​ ​plagued by complication and risk,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​a​ ​challenging​ ​system​ ​to get a ​mortgages​ ​for​ ​said​ ​homes. That’s why mortgage and housing specialists like Propillo are championing the benefits of new technology, with the blockchain being one of the best.

With the blockchain, buyers and sellers can use the aforementioned ‘smart contracts’ to carry out a house sale – cutting down on hidden costs. Not only does it ensure complete transparency on both sides, it also limits the risk of either the buyer or seller pulling out of the deal, leaving the other frustrated.

What’s more, in 2018, more and more companies are expected to embrace the Blockchain and Bitcoin revolution, with one company in New York even allowing tenants to pay their rent in Bitcoin.

How far this blockchain revolution will go, only time will tell. All we know is, there’s never been a better time to get onboard.

 

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About the author: Andrew Beck