Blockchain – Is This the Future of Real Estate?

If you have been paying attention to the tech space and more specifically the crypto currency scene, you may have heard of the term – “blockchain technology”.

For those that have not heard, or those who may have heard but are still confused, you are not alone, this is a technology that is difficult to accurately explain – and lets be real, if most cannot relate to it on a simple level, they will avoid and remain skeptical about it.

I will try to explain blockchain technology (as I understand it), in basic layman terms.

Blockchain is a record of transactions. It is a distributed ledger that can be shared across a network and accessed by anyone with access to the network.

Each block in the chain is comprised of a collection of data. Anyone across the network has full access to the data in the chain.

Essentially, it is a way to sell/trade and make instantaneous transactions on a network without any middlemen (like banks or brokers). This is the same technology that is behind Bitcoin.

The great thing about this technology is that it is virtually fraud free, secure and fast.

But How?

Ok, so lets say you want to sell your Ikoyi flat to a foreign investor. You will enter the specific details about the property – parcel info, title info, price, etc and place this on a block (via computer).

So the person(s) with access to the blockchain will be able to view and verify the info and then pay for the flat instantaneously.

No broker fees, long waits on queues at the bank, no hassles trying to secure title and deed – everything is processed clean and seamless.

Show me the Money!

But how do I get paid? I know you are asking this. Will money be deposited in my account? When will I feel cold cash on my hand? I get it, it seems odd, but the reality is that you will receive your money in the designated way in which you dictate.

If you want money deposited to your account – you can do that. Or if you prefer some bitcoin, that is an option too.

Opportunity Abounds

If you have ever tried to buy a parcel or house in Nigeria, I am sure you know that it is not an easy or hassle free process. The current system and process is wrought with fraud and obstacles.

You will have to verify if the persons selling the property are in fact the legal owners. Is the title (legal rights associated with the land) free and clear? How will money be dispersed? How will the transaction be recorded? Is it legally binding?

Personally I am currently entangled in a legal battle over a parcel of land (for over 3 years) that I legally purchased.

It was cleared by the local government and by the traditional authorities – but someone else tried to lay claim to the land, and due to incompetency and fraud, we have been locked in the vicious and seemingly never-ending court process – with no end in sight.

In Nigeria, land and dwelling records are not computerized or even organized and readily accessible. Blockchain can help solve this – but is Nigeria ready for this gigantic leap?

Advantages of Blockchain

  • It is instantaneous – transactions are fast.
  • It is transparent – everyone on the chain has access to the record.
  • Almost impossible for fraud to occur – with the level of transparency fraud is diminished since everyone will be able to immediately see if a record or block has been altered.
  • It is decentralized – no government or intermediary that will get in the way and slow things down.

Disadvantages

  • Blockchain is not regulated , governments don’t know how to deal with it and therefore they will probably try and stifle it.
  • Blockchain could be hacked. Although the technology is secure, there is always the potential of a malicious party to try and disrupt the system.

Emerging Technology

Keep in mind that this tech is emerging. It is in the early stages of development and its evolution is ongoing – and will probably get better by the day.

The key here is that for countries like Nigeria ( the entire third world to be frank), should be jumping at the chance to get on board with this technology that is aimed to transform the real estate and finance scene -forever.

Why wait until systems are set up and all the big players are in place, why not get in at the ground level and create a revolutionary program that can even the playing field for the common man?

Watch India

In India, a country with many parallels to Nigeria, blockchain is beginning to get a lot of attention, so it behooves us to watch closely and learn how it takes hold and progresses on the Indian sub-continent.

The way I see it is that we would be fools not to embrace this radical approach to transactions – it will make everyone’s life easier and it will improve efficiencies across the board.

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