Blockchain for real estate?

The majority of press coverage around blockchain technology may still be about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but the technology offers a new technical solution to a variety of efficiency problems across the business landscape, with applications that include workers’ rights, the Internet of Things (IoT), healthcare, and now real estate.

The international real-estate market has is one with a variety of stake-holders in each transaction and keeping everyone on the same page has traditionally been a slow and laborious process involving translators, reams of paperwork, and exorbitant legal fees. Now startups like Zillios are putting the blockchain to work – bringing the stakeholders together and making these processes more transparent and efficient with smart contracts, smart booking, and secure escrow services.

Whilst some blockchain startups generate their commissions revenues through micro-transactions on each block addition, Zillios have decided to charge zero commission and instead produce profits through marketplace advertising with a well-established pay-per-click (PPC) bidding system. For a company with over a million properties already listed, being at the top of buyers and renters search results is a valuable asset – and this is where Zillios plans to make money rather than through the rentals and sales themselves.

The Gibraltar-based firm plans to raise between $5 million and $15 million through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) over the next couple of months, with a roadmap to sign partnerships and move into big data over the next three years.

What is blockchain technology?

The blockchain is a new way of processing and logging transactions and data in a single unified distributed, decentralised, digital ledger. The idea of a cryptographically secured chain of blocks was described in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta and first implemented in Bitcoin, created by someone using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009.

The most obvious use of a ledger is with accounting, and so Bitcoin was the obvious first application of the technology, as it is a way of processing financial transactions without the need for a centralised banking system – removing the fees imposed by the current banking network and reducing the time for cross-border-transactions from five days to under five seconds. However, keeping a distributed and decentralised log of information is useful for many businesses in today’s data-driven world, reducing the friction in data exchange whilst at the same time making it possible to ensure the data is constantly verified and validated by all parties.