Blockchain & Real Estate: How Tokenization May Be a Game Changer for Investors and Owners

The real estate market represents one of the oldest and most significant investment classes. Real estate investments yield competitive returns and are particularly effective hedges against inflation, however, there have been several persistent barriers to entry, including the high cost of entry and low liquidity.

With cryptoassets emerging as a new asset class, their underlying technology - blockchain networks - have evolved to not only serve transactional systems but also confer, hold and transfer value in general.

As the industry and technology continue to develop, there is considerable room in merging the old with the new, and few areas hold potential equal to the tokenization of real estate.

Tokenization, as the name suggests, is the representation of an asset or equity, in token equivalents, which can be fractionally divided and owned.

A tokenized property would be akin to a real estate investment trust (REIT), but much more flexible and with very little middlemen fees.

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Unparalleled liquidity

Tokenized equities and real estate will witness unparalleled liquidity, given how the ease and secure settlement of cross-border transfers in tokens can take investment pools truly global.

Fractional ownership/Low cost of entry

Since tokens support fractional ownership, they considerably lower the cost of entry, further opening up the investor pool and unlocking developing regions and economies around the world.

Efficient administration/No middlemen

Tokenized securities can be further programmed for efficient administration - this is done via the use of smart contracts, which can easily send out dividends and support other functions, such as voting rights. Moreover, since all of these activities are recorded on the blockchain, management overheads are significantly reduced, middlemen are removed from the picture and costs are lowered for both investors and issuers.

Increased transparenc

Not only are blockchain networks secure, but they are also immutable and allow for increased transparency, where every transaction and value transfer is recorded on a ledger. Access to the ledger can be permissioned if required, and overall, blockchain implementations are flexible.

Current challenges to tokenization of real estate

While the prospect of tokenized real estate is quite attractive, its implementation is not without challenges.

First, there is a need for improved security practices and general awareness around the custody of digital tokens. Time and again, we see exchanges getting hacked and/or cryptocurrency owners losing their holdings due to security lapses as simple as phishing attacks and keyloggers.

Until institutional-grade custody solutions and exchanges become mainstream, the dream of tokenized real estate will be difficult to realize.

While there are several reputable platforms, such as Polymath and Swarm, they only take care of the technology end of tokenization. Before there can be any meaningful adoption, regulatory developments need to be made. Even when tokenized, real estate tokens fall under securities law, and compliance procedures need to be followed. Unfortunately, there is the feeling of a lack of clarity surrounding digital securities, and presently, industry stakeholders have adopted a “wait and watch” approach.

Promising ventures in the real estate space

Given the benefits of tokenizing securities (particularly the reduced buy-in price and increased liquidity in real estate), it is all but certain that the future will see a larger-scale adoption of digital securities, and it will be better for the industry that it happens when everyone is ready for it.

About the author:

Joe DiPasquale is CEO of BitBull Capital and has unique insights into crypto fund investment styles, diligence, and deals. Previously, he worked in investment management, investment banking, technology, and strategy consulting at Deutsche Bank, Bain, and McKinsey. Joe completed his BA at Harvard University and MBA at Stanford University.

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Opera Launches Blockchain, Cryptocurrency-Ready Browser for iOS

Opera Ltd., the company behind the Opera browser, has recently launched a new blockchain and cryptocurrency-ready browser for iOS, following the company’s addition of a built-in cryptocurrency wallet to its Android and PC browsers.

According to a press release shared with CryptoGlobe, the company’s Opera Touch browser for iOS features “crypto wallet integration and Web 3 support,” meaning users can interact with blockchain-based applications through it, as if they were using an extension like MetaMask. The company hinted at the move in March of this year.

The company touts it now offers browsers supporting blockchain-based applications and with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet in various operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS, allowing users to “seamlessly interact with the next generation of Web 3 applications.”

Currently, the browser only supports ERC-20 tokens, stablecoins, and non-fungible tokens, although the company has revealed earlier this year it’s looking to add support for TRON and multiple other blockchains within a  year.

Charles Hamel, Opera’s head of crypto, stated:

We believe that all modern browsers should integrate a crypto wallet. This will enable new business models to emerge on the web. Opera is the first browser to make using crypto on the Web seamless and easy. Following a strong demand from the crypto-community, we are now making this experience available on iOS.

In the press release the company added it believes the “web of today will be the interface to the decentralized web of tomorrow,” with cryptocurrencies being at its forefront. Along with the iOS release, the company announced it partnered with a decentralized-application (dApp) called Marble.Cards, which allows users to turn unique web pages into collectible cards on the blockchain, each being a non-fungible token.

The Opera touch browser itself has a user interface built to let users use large phone screens with ease, as it shifts the navigation towards the bottom of the screen and adds features that make it easy to share pages across devices.

Opera’s main Android browser is also its cryptocurrency-ready browser for the operating system, and it has made it easier for users to buy cryptocurrencies directly from their mobile phones.