Blockchain to revolutionize real estate

Land registries will be the first to apply new technologies in trailblazing U.S.

January 23, 2018 - The recent headlines surrounding bitcoin and blockchain have many people asking what implications there may be for the commercial real estate industry. It appears that the first frontier for this kind of technology in real estate will be the digitization of land registry and property transfer documents as several municipalities have launched pilot projects to examine the benefits of these kinds of systems over the last year. The most recent example came late last week when it was announced that the City of South Burlington, Vermont will be partnering with startup Propy, Inc. to launch a pilot project which will attempt to convert their current system for real estate transfer document recording to a blockchain based system. Similar pilot projects have been launched in several global cities as well as American towns such as Cook County, Illinois.

While government buy-in remains one of the primary barrier to the widespread propagation of this technology, recent efforts seem to be suggesting that opinions are shifting. The Government of Canada announced on January 20th that they will be launching a trial program to explore the use of blockchain to make government funding more transparent. The first trial will focus on the National Research Council (NRC) and the technology will be used to publish funding and grant details to the public in real time. While there are no signs that the government has begun to investigate expanding their focus to other industries, programs like the one launched for the NRC are the first steps in what could be a new era for real estate data collection and processing. ​​