In the wake of the Malta Delta Summit, upcoming blockchain legislation and the Malta Blockchain Summit, many newspaper columns have been taken up by news of the revolutionary technology.
Like the internet 20 or so years ago, blockchain innovation promises to be universal, having an impact across all industries and sectors irrespective of the nature of their operations. It is no wonder then that all business stakeholders have their ear to the ground to keep abreast of the fast blockchain developments.
Several professionals may find themselves daunted by the dawn of blockchain and what it may mean for their businesses but, let’s be honest, we are all a little confused by what blockchain really is. In simple terms, the ‘blockchain’ is a group (thousands or millions) of computers each holding an identical, encrypted record of an event or transaction in a hack-proof ledger that is publically available. Validation of the transaction happens through consensus offered by each computer with that same record. The key feature of blockchain is that it allows transactions to happen without a middleman.
In real estate terms, these are exciting times. The human element in the real estate world where the consultant develops a trustworthy relationship with buyer or seller or, as often happens, both, will endure. This is important to all parties, however how transactions are made and how records are extracted, handled and distributed will change with the introduction of blockchain technology. Smart estate agents are already adapting their business models to accept and facilitate this change in how transactions are carried out. The prediction is that buying a property in an established blockchain jurisdiction will be as simple as adding an item to a shopping cart on a retail website.
Charles Darwin famously wrote, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Frank Salt Real Estate was established in 1969; today it is the largest, local, independent real estate agency on our islands. The fact that it has survived decades of constant change in all environments─social, cultural, political, and especially technological─ is an understatement. The company considers itself to be one of the estate agents described above: smart enough to educate itself on the impact blockchain will make.
So smart in fact that the company has teamed up with Angel Labs, a US based investor accelerator, to launch Europe’s first blockchain-focused real estate tech fund. Angel Labs and Frank Salt Real Estate will join forces to welcome proposals from promising blockchain entrepreneurs seeking investment to enable the launch of their ventures.
Grahame Salt, a director at Frank Salt Real Estate who heads its business development, commented, “What Malta is doing for blockchain is outstanding, and we want to be the first to jump on the bandwagon. But we want to do more than that─for our country, our business and our industry. With our real estate industry tech fund related to blockchain, in collaboration with Angel Labs, we will be recognised as enablers of this amazing technology, putting both Malta and our company on the digital world map”.