Blockchain, the technology that links blocks of data together through cryptography, has been making a surge in recent years, showing up in everything from financial tech to scientific data. And Arizona is having a blockchain surge of its own, opening the door to startups and data science companies through a series of workshops and the country’s first Fintech Sandbox. Now, a Scottsdale-based real estate agency is grabbing the brass ring of blockchain by recording its first-ever transaction using the technology.
Tru Realty, a full-service real estate agency, just announced the sale, making it only the third realty company in the entire country to have completed a real estate transaction utilizing blockchain.
Tru did it by utilizing a tech platform called Propy, which helped increase security and speed of the transaction. Blockchain has been showing up in a number of different industries and real estate has been primed for some time to get in on it. The overall process of buying a home is still laborious, so bringing in a technology that creates a streamlined solution is highly desired.
“We see it as a safer and faster and more efficient way of doing business. It’s not disrupting our process,” says Sarah Richardson, principal/designated broker at Tru. “It was so easy, it was scary. It was easier than uploading a listing on Zillow.”
Tru Realty began working with Propy in May, and in September began the process of brokering the sale between an Arizona-based buyer and seller. But the technology is helping those in the real estate industry go beyond local sales and forecast plans to bring together local and international clients. What normally would take weeks to complete can now be done in just a number of hours.
Another benefit of the technology is cracking down on fraud or data breaches. Given the fact that the blocks are 100 percent secure and encrypted, buyers and sellers can provide details of the property and input additional necessary information with less to worry about. From there, computer protocols do a rundown of the legitimacy of the deal and hold on to an agreement until all terms are met.
Just last month, members of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) got together in Scottsdale to discuss potential applications of blockchain technology in financial and property transactions. Brought together by distributed records, cryptography and smart-contract code (which performs functions and interacts with other code to make user-directed decisions), computing tech is becoming more sophisticated in real estate.
Blockchain still has a ways to go before it becomes adopted as a seamless and second-nature choice for those in the real estate industry. But it’s poised to take off as a preferred method of transaction between buyer and seller.
“I don’t think it will interrupt the role of the realtor or company, but it will just make things faster and more efficient,” says Richardson. “I realized it could be the goal of reaching global listings. We’re in the Phoenix market, but we’re seeing major growth and a further reach with blockchain.”
This kind of technology will also allow those undergoing one part of a real estate transaction to do things virtually, cutting out the time physically being somewhere to notarize documents or work with escrow officers, which can all eat up a lot of time.