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.
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.
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.