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Blockchain technology, cryptocurrency and real estate

In Photo: Dakak Beach Resort

CRYPTOCURRENCY is a term that is most often misunderstood. For many, they see this is as a fad. For some, they associate the essence of cryptocurrency with the price of a Bitcoin.

We can’t blame them, especially when the value of Bitcoin almost reached the $20,000 mark by the end of last year, setting off excitement, skepticism and a lot of speculation.

But for those in the know, the value of Bitcoin is the least interesting part. Rather, it is the cryptocurrency’s underlying technology which is the blockchain technology.

I am not yet an expert on these new technologies, but being immersed as of late in an environment filled with global rock stars in the field of cryptocurrency, blockchain technology and fintech, I know as much to confidently say that blockchain technology is rapidly transforming industries to make them more efficient. This includes real estate.

Dubai property scene

In his article at the Forbes Real Estate Council, Matthew Murphy, global vice president at Renren, an investing and building company in the real-estate and fintech sectors, sees three ways in which blockchain technology would affect the way we do business in real estate.

First would be in the MLS Property Data which could be made more centralized and accessible using blockchain technology, which after all, enables sharing data and processes. Since every real-estate transaction goes to the MLS or the multiple listing service, the information is restricted and the access is difficult. This is where blockchain technology comes in by creating a way for secure data sharing and real-time access to property information.

Blockchain technology could also change and transform the process of title information which is similar to MLS Property Data, are decentralized and difficult to access.

Third would be in the area of transactions, which blockchain technology could help to become more efficient. As an example, Murphy states that each user has a unique identity on the blockchain via cryptography. This means that the financial information of the consumer can be shared securely with other parties during their transaction. And only one person can send funds to the other person and it won’t be released until the transaction is formally completed. This is an additional layer of security that blockchain technology could definitely provide.

Josef Werker, NOAH Foundation director

In short, he says that blockchain technology would streamline the real-estate ecosystem by enabling people to securely and efficiently share data and money, making information more accessible, taking out the middlemen and practically reducing the risk of fraud.

Blockchain technology in Dubai real estate

The Middle East real estate market is fast evolving to become more digital.

Dubai is a classic example.

Dubai boasts of its blockchain strategy which they envision to be the key to ushering in more opportunities in all sectors of the government. It is also their effort at solidifying the emirate’s reputation as a global technology leader.

The plan by the Smart Dubai Office blockchain technology will be used for all government documents by 2020 and the real estate industry will be greatly impacted.

Dubai hopes to ride on using technology and making it the next gamechanger in the $217 trillion global real estate market, with annual real-estate trading of $900-billion worldwide.

They strongly believe that by using technology-based platforms, transactions of asset ownership, leases and mortgages, among other things, will be sped up and made more efficient.

Dubai will unlock the strong potential of real estate through blockchain to decentralize the ledger; blockchain smart contracts which will be a self-executed code enabled by blockchain, which will place the conditions of the deal in a code and tokenization of real estate which is expected to democratize real estate projects. The token sales approach also has the opportunity to influence financing of the real-estate sector.

Blockchain technology in the real-estate sector has been under way since 2016.

In fact, pilots have been already conducted in Georgia, Ukraine, Sweden and Honduras.

And it’s coming to the Philippines

The good news is, blockchain technology in real estate is now coming to the Philippines through the NOAH platform and the NOAH Coin.

The NOAH Coin was introduced in Japan last February in an initial coin offering and will be used as a digital utility token for a number of projects in the Philippines, including real estate and property development.

The NOAH platform aims to use the NOAH Coin to provide access to exclusive projects in the Philippines spearheaded by the NOAH Foundation.

Josef Werker, NOAH Foundation director, said that the NOAH Project aims to collaborate with Philippine ventures, both in the private and public sector, to create strategic partnerships, which are mutually beneficial for both our country and Japan.

Lined up in NOAH Foundation’s ecosystem for the Philippines are mixed-use property developments in Mindanao, residential real estate in Metro Manila, organic agriculture and renewable-energy projects.

A massive property development in the pipeline is the Horizon Manila, which will be the newest reclaimed project in the city of Manila. At 419 hectares, Horizon Manila is envisioned as the largest central business district in the Philippines. This project, in collaboration with Jbros Construction Corp., will also see the rise of a NOAH City inside the Horizon.  At the NOAH City, the NOAH Coin can also be used as a token to receive discounts from any part of the city.

Another project which is already under way, is an assisted living facility in partnership with Dakak Beach Resort in Zamboanga del Norte.

Werker said that the NOAH Coin will be used as currency in all parts of the resort.

By using the NOAH Coin, users will be able to access the resort’s three tennis courts, billiards, bowling alley, a world-class golf courses, horseback riding, ATVing, zipline, rock climbing, wakeboarding, a fully fitted airsoft facility, rappelling, cove hopping, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, jetski, sunset cruise and river cruise. Every NOAH Coin user will be given exclusive access to the resort with special discounts given for purchases.

“The mission of the NOAH Project is to consolidate and allow cryptocurrency users—be they customers, merchants and traders—on board a very specific and intuitive platform that can seamlessly integrate all the existing features under the same structure,” Werker said.

NOAH Coin users, he added, will be able to purchase the tokens from the NOAH Foundation or from preapproved digital asset exchanges to use in any of the NOAH projects, use as a payment system with the NOAH Wallet or send and receive money using the NOAH Remit platform, receiving at the same time incentives within the NOAH ecosystem of services and developments.

These are, indeed, interesting developments and we can’t wait to see the full impact of blockchain technology in global real-estate industry.

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