On February 20, 2018, the first real estate transaction in the US using blockchain for the settlement and title registry was conducted in a pilot program in South Burlington, Vermont.
San Fransisco-based startup Propy is a global real estate marketplace and decentralized title registry that aims to remove friction from international real estate transactions. The process involves a modular series of smart contracts that cover very specific functions such as identity, title, deed, payment, and escrow. The PRO (Propy) utility tokens are used to access the platform’s suite of services and pay registry fees for the deed and title contracts during a title transfer.
On October 2, 2017, Propy conducted the first ever real estate deal on the Ethereum blockchain–in which TechCrunch cofounder and Propy board member Michael Arrington purchased an apartment in the Ukrainian capital, Keiv, for $60,000–following a successful $15 million crowdsale and launch of the PRO token the previous month.
The Vermont resident who signed off on the deed, Katherine Purcell, told Inverse:
“I was a little nervous, like I couldn’t believe I was doing this. But this type of technology excites me. Its encryption capabilities are top of the line in terms of keeping deeds and other documents safe.”
While there have certainly been real estate deals involving cryptocurrencies, Propy goes further by providing a full-fledged platform to conduct such business. Since the transfer of physical property (and certainly multi-million dollar real estate) requires interfacing with existing legal structures, Propy has been working to establish pilot programs around the world.
An anonymous source leaked an image to Zero Hedge of Katherine’s signature on the deed complete with the address of the smart contract in which it is recorded.
The same source also indicated that other states are not too far behind:
“This first deal makes it much easier for the rest of the 49 states to iterate the process. In fact, Arizona and Colorado are next.”
With the increasing rate of state legislation in the US around blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts, it will be interesting to see how many more local governments will be open to work with Propy to provide the legal enforceability of such transactions.
Monopoly image via MorgueFile