Presented by treehouse 

Disruption is a word that gets bandied about a lot, especially in the tech scene. Add ‘blockchain’ and the hype reaches cosmic proportions. Is it justified, though? In a word — yes.

Since the invention of blockchain in 2008, technologists have been exploring how this new technology may disrupt and improve the way traditional industries operate. Momentum in this space has grown rapidly over the last two years, with much attention given to the application of blockchain in payment solutions, supply chain technologies and data storage. Yet, only recently has the real estate industry been targeted, which is perplexing, since it is an archetypal sector ripe for disruption.

Costly, time consuming, cumbersome, highly complex, confusing, fragmented and at the mercy of entities which are themselves stuck in an archaic way of operating, where the customer is seldom the primary focus. Everyone, whether renting or buying, usually ends up feeling like they’ve paid a premium for the privilege of bad service and not receiving value for money.

Once those lucky few do get on the ladder — and good luck if you are a millennial — they will find that the market is highly illiquid. Not only is there a hefty time delay, there are all sorts of conveyance and hidden fees.

Unless you’re very wealthy, building a property portfolio diversified across different cities or even countries, especially as a young professional, is impossible. This means there is a huge potential market who would like to be involved in real-estate but do not have the tools or initial finance to secure a whole property and therefore have held off from participating. Disruption is all about taking a complex, costly thing and simplifying it through technology.

Landlords are also faced with a large number of cumbersome problems that the latest generation of start-ups are looking to tackle; management is pain. There’s the inconvenience, and cost, of sourcing tenants as well as income being at risk if the rent isn’t paid, collected, and reported in an efficient, timely manner that also complies with all the taxation regulation. Maintenance can be costly, both in terms of money as well as time.

Blockchain has the potential to totally disrupt this market by tackling most, if not all, of the problems associated with owning, renting, transacting, and investing in property.

The point of this article is not to delve into the technicalities of how this breakthrough in the web’s evolution works, but rather to make readers aware of the potential for revolutionizing, and indeed, democratizing a sector that relatively few could freely access before.

Start-ups like treehouse are using blockchain to ‘tokenize’ real-estate making it available to everyone. Tokenization is just the process of creating a blockchain based identity and digital asset that is directly linked to the physical asset.

What this means is that people can access the benefits of property ownership (rental income and capital gains), without the need to own the full property, but based on a share of the property that they can afford, be it a small or large sum. Add to this the transparency and absolute, immutable security offered by blockchain, as well as the ability to trade these tokens and something resembling a traditional stock market emerges.

Individuals can build up portfolios with tokens in properties all over the globe; and all with a few simple clicks, while receiving the benefits one would traditionally expect from property ownership.

Not only is this simplifying a complex and time-consuming process, it makes real estate accessible for a community who would otherwise have to wait years before they could afford the high cost of entry into the market. as well as solving the liquidity problem many would have with property. The property doesn’t have to sell outright, only one’s property share (the property’s unique token).

This is precisely what disruption is about, and what blockchain can bring. The work done by start-ups like Propy, ProofSuite, LA Token are building on this for various assets and the likes of treehouse is doing it for property.

And this is why blockchain should change the way you look at property investment.

Raz Iordache is Founder of treehouse.

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