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Barclays, RBS, 38 Others Join R3 Blockchain Real Estate Trial That Could Save $160B

April 4, 2019
Giancarlo Roma


Barclays, RBS, 38 Others Join R3 Blockchain Real Estate Trial That Could Save $160B

Two major United Kingdom (UK) banks, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), have joined a trial that employs blockchain technology to make real estate buying quicker and more efficient. This news comes via a Bloomberg report earlier today.

Besides Barclays and RBS, the trial includes a number of large companies, including London-based law firm Clifford Chance LLC. Altogether, forty companies will participate.

The tool at the heart of the pilot was developed by Instant Property Network (IPN), which is backed by R3 and built upon their Corda platform. R3 is a consortium of more than 200 financial institutions, banks, fintech companies, and trade associations whose primary aim is to develop Corda, an open-source blockchain platform built to process complex monetary transactions.

According to IPN, which was quoted in the Bloomberg report, their tool could save about $160 billion if applied globally. While that is a big “if,” it is enough for other large companies to take notice. The process of purchasing a house — with its middlemen and escrow periods — is notoriously slow, inefficient, and ready for disruption

As head of Barclay’s New York group innovation office, John Stecher, noted in the report:

“When a person wants to purchase a house, the process encompasses a whole host of different interactions with different businesses and governmental entities that can be uncomfortable and drawn out.”

However, blockchain has long been considered the technology to simplify this process. As director for mortgage and innovation at RBS, Dan Salmons, told Bloomberg by phone, this may be the first true consumer application for blockchain technology, which, til now, has been full of promise, but not many real-world applications (though many have been and are in the works):

“We are near the end of the hype cycle and have not found a great consumer solution for distributed ledger technology until now. Property is an industry that is ripe for this, where a complex difficult process for customers could be made cheaper and more transparent.’’

Barclays also praised the ability of the new technology to simplify real estate for the end customer.

Elsewhere in the world of blockchain and real estate, last month the United Arab Emirates (UAE) real estate giant Elmaar reportedly considering its own cryptocurrency token, and lawmakers in Ohio are looking into a blockchain-based platform to make real estate transfer more seamless.

The real estate industry is no stranger to blockchain meanwhile, with various initiatives underway worldwide.

Late last month, United Arab Emirates real estate giant Elmaar reportedly revealed plans to launch its own cryptocurrency token and even undergo an initial coin offering.

Elsewhere, lawmakers in the state of Ohio are currently exploring a blockchain-based solution for real estate transfer.