Blockchain — also known as decentralized ledger — is taking over many industries, but nobody really thought it would have hit commercial real estate this quickly.
The future is here, meaning blockchain-based smart contracts could revolutionize CRE. In one of their recent reports, tech firm Built In claimed blockchain can help speed up the process of property transactions — from sales to financing, leasing and management transactions.
By leveraging users to validate a transaction, this dynamic can safely and cost-efficiently reduce loan fees and inspection costs, and sometimes property taxes can be reduced.
One company specializing in this process is Plum Lending, and they’re not alone. Here are five more tech firms bringing blockchain technology to CRE.
This consulting firm works with crypto and financial consulting companies to help clients buy and sell residential and commercial real estate using cryptocurrency. The Founder and President of the company is Piper Moretti, the only realtor in California who has completed five bitcoin real estate transactions, to date.
With properties in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Uruguay, they currently accept the following cryptocurrencies: BTC, BCH and ETH. She also teaches a Crypto x Real Estate course for brokers and real estate professionals globally.
This platform tokenizes properties, and the trading can completely be done online. The tokens can, as well, be exchanged for fiat currency. They have a platform called UVAS where you can trade assets at lower operating exchange rates.
“From my perspective, understanding the value in tokenizing real estate is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the future of partnerships and investments on the blockchain,” said Aviva Sonenreich, the Managing Broker of Sonenreich & Co, a CRE firm in Denver.
Blockchain is lowering the barriers to owning commercial buildings, too, with fractional ownership. With blockchain, one can buy and sell CRE properties in fractions, and with that capability comes fractionalized investing.
Vairt is a real estate token exchange and blockchain-powered investment platform. Their platform allows its users to purchase or sell fractional ownership of properties using a blockchain digital wallet. Their platform helps make CRE transactions transparent, and soon the fees and commissions could be skipped. In the future, there could be peer-to-peer CRE transactions without any middlemen.
Real estate wire fraud is a global problem, but this Columbus-based software company ensures that every transaction is protected and safe. Their team helps prevent hackers from obtaining funds from brokerages and title agencies, preventing financial loss.
The main cause is a phishing link by an employee at a real estate firm. SafeWire suggests two-factor authentication for emails. One of their clients used SafeWire to prevent a scam.
In their words, here’s how it happened:
“We had one last month where the buyer called us after he got an email with ‘new’ wire instructions that told him to wire his $500,000 to a guy named Paul,’ but fortunately, he’d gotten his wire instructions from us through SafeWire, and was wondering why we were now emailing him different instructions instead of using SafeWire again to send him his instructions. We discovered that the buyer’s email had been breached, so they were watching his emails (not ours), and they sent him new instructions at the last minute trying to divert him. Fortunately, since he called us, we were able to prevent the scam.”
This firm allows commercial property owners to sell digital shares of their real estate properties. On the company’s platform, they connect individual and corporate investors with property owners who are looking to liquidate parts of their ownership. They keep all transactions transparent and use smart contracts.
With their blockchain solutions, they claim to eliminate 80% of the custom code used to deploy blockchain solutions, reducing development costs. Their customized blockchain modules are used across commerce and finance, from asset management to capital markets, OTC trading, payments and more.
Only the Beginning
While these companies are at the forefront of bringing blockchain into CRE, there’s still much work to be done.
“Conceptually, blockchain is intimidating, but in practice, I believe blockchain has the potential to make investing in real estate more practical, safer, easier and streamlined,” Sonenreich wrote in Forbes. “My suggestion to professionals in the real estate space? Educate yourself on blockchain technology. Do your research and due diligence. Learn about this technology. It is complex and unique; however, it could be your friend, and, societally, it is likely here to stay.”