What’s Happening Around the Block(chain)?

Are you ready to learn how technology is really having an impact on real estate? Then the Blockchain, Bitcoin & Robots in Real Estate session is one that you should have attended.

Led by Bill Lublin, the CEO of Century 21 Advantage Gold in Pennsylvania and the CEO of the Social Media Marketing Institute (SMMI), the lion’s share of the information-packed session centered around bitcoin and blockchain. Based on the survey of the room, many real estate professionals have heard of blockchain and cryptocurrency, but few understood what exactly the technology does.

Bitcoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency with no controlling institution or government that was developed after the 2008 financial crash. It is a cryptocurrency and was invented by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto.

At the same time bitcoin was invented, Satoshi Nakamoto needed to find a way to solve the problem of trust in a distributed ledger system. If I say I have 10 bitcoins, how does anyone else know that if there isn’t a record somewhere? To answer the question, blockchain was invented.

The data is stored in blocks. For the purposes of cryptocurrency, the blockchain is essentially the bank statement, but for everyone. It’s anonymous and has the records for the roughly 17 million bitcoins circulating around the world.

Bill went into much more detail about the history of bitcoin and blockchain. If you’re interested, I encourage you to reach out to him to chat.

But the purpose of the session was to discuss bitcoin and blockchain use in real estate. And up to this point, as Bill said it, bitcoin has a lot of hype around it as a method of payment, but crypto-to-crypto transactions just simply do not exist.

What does exist is buyers with bitcoin exchanging them for something with real value and backed by a government: cash. So there are many crypto-to-Fiat transactions. The concept of using bitcoin to buy a house is the same, as Bill puts it, as walking up to a seller and trying to use your comic book collection to buy a home.

Using bitcoin–or any cryptocurrency–to purchase a home is going to be an uphill battle since few entities will accept it as payment. Try paying your taxes to government via bitcoin. (Ha!) But the by-product of developing bitcoin is blockchain, and that could have an impact on data.

For clarity, Sally Davies, a Financial Times Technology reporter, said “Blockchain is to Bitcoin, what the internet is to email. A big electronic system, on top of which you can build applications. Currency is just one.”

This is where REALTORS® should pay attention and follow future developments of blockchain. The technology may be coming to a block(chain) near you.

First-Time Featured Attendee

Kevin Juliano is the digital director for the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®. In his role, Kevin is responsible for the association’s social media presence, email campaigns, websites, and other digital projects. He also serves as the staff liaison for PAR’s YPN Advisory Committee.

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