Virtual Real Estate: Buying a Piece of the Metaverse

Person wearing a virtual headset

Time to Get Meta?

In October 2021, Facebook changed its name in homage to the metaverse. By combining real and online worlds, the metaverse, says Facebook, will be “the next evolution in a long line of social technologies.” 

So this is why Facebook has been suggesting that people make all those cartoonish avatars of ourselves? Similar elements feature in Roblox and other online game concepts. Now, Facebook plans to hire 10,000 people in Europe to help its proprietary metaverse get out in front.

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United Wholesale Mortgage to Accept Crypto— Wait, Never Mind.

Inside of a modern looking living room in a nice house

Not too long ago, we reported on United Wholesale Mortgage and its eye-catching plan to accept cryptocurrencies for mortgages by late 2021.

As we wrote then:

Whether the idea will find adherents remains to be seen. Certainly, many UWM customers are big crypto holders. But that doesn’t mean they want to part with their digital assets.

OK, now it’s late 2021. And indeed, while the idea got a flurry of attention, UWM has abandoned it. CEO Mat Ishbia said borrowers thought it was a “cool” idea, but there was “not enough demand at the end of the day” to keep it going after an initial test. The six borrowers who participated in September and October 2021 may now owe taxes for paying in digital assets rather than cash.

Never mind.

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Coinbase and Real Estate: Perfect Together?

Image of letter tiles that spell out blockchain on a black surface with some reading glasses, a part of a paper calendar, and some coins made to look like bitcoins.

Cryptocurrency is on a roll as we go to press. Things can change quickly in this arena, but right now, values are high. Bitcoin has never been higher. BITO, a new exchange traded fund (ETF) for bitcoin futures has come out. Even Berkshire Hathaway is talking about buying a home with bitcoin.

And now Coinbase, known for its role in the future of money, is thinking about the future of real estate.

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Blockchain of the Rich and Famous?

Inside of a very sophisticated looking modern house. Captioned: Blockchain of the Rich and Famous?

Luxury Portfolio International now finds cryptocurrency closing in on gold as the most sought-after store of value among the world’s affluent people. The finding is based on a survey of more than 3,000 respondents, as noted in the firm’s report State of Luxury Real Estate 2021: Finances of the Luxury Home Buyer.

Well over half of luxury home buyers believe in investing in a backup asset other than cash. Gold and now cryptocurrencies are their assets of choice.

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The HOME Token on Ethereum

An Industry First

Interior of a futuristic house. Captioned: The HOME Token on Ethereum

The Blimp Homes app brings real estate sellers and seekers together with agents. And with Blimp, there’s something more. Together with the Home Network Foundation (homefoundation.io), Blimp Homes has introduced an industry first: a home search platform is designed to be decentralized, user-focused and transparent. It’s built on the HOME Protocol — on blockchain.

Real estate agents are being assigned cryptographic assets called HOME tokens when they sign up with the Home Network. Buyers and sellers will soon be earning HOME tokens on the Ethereum blockchain when working with others on the Blimp platform.

U.S. real estate is the starting point. The network has plans to expand to cover all of North America, and then go further.

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Start Spreading the News: Blockchain Deed Recording Comes to New York City

New York City’s Department of Finance is trying out blockchain. Can the technology make recording and keeping deeds a better process? The test run, handled by Medici Land Governance (MLG), will find out whether the method will work in a massive city, the company stated in August 2021. MLG is owned by Overstock.com — an early adopter of blockchain in the retail sphere. Its blockchain recording system is proven to be tamper-resistant and easily searched.

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United Wholesale Mortgage Plans to Accept Crypto in 2021

Image of a very modern looking interior of a house. Captioned: Crypto for Your Mortgage

United Wholesale Mortgage wants to take payments in cryptocurrency by late 2021. The point? To be the first mortgage company to take the plunge. “I’m not going to sit here and wait for everyone else to do it and then follow,” CEO Mat Ishbia told Julie Hyman for Yahoo Finance.

The CEO first broke the news on its second-quarter earnings call in August, mentioning Bitcoin and Ethereum as top currency candidates.

UWM’s core business involves underwriting loans for mortgage brokers. Nearly a million homeowners send money to UWM every month, and many of them make their monthly payments through the company’s website.

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Blockchain and the Mortgage Loan

Image of a modern looking modular building. Captioned: Blockchain and the Mortgage Loan

In debates over a 2021 infrastructure bill, blockchain tax is contested ground. Cryptocurrency proponents are keen on keeping the crypto mining and development communities in the United States. Heavy regulations and taxes could run the risk of tossing the baby out with the bathwater, they warn. Overbroad taxation could suppress the evolving blockchain technology that supports smart contracts.

The issue matters to the world of titles and mortgages. Here, we note some evolving use cases for blockchain — especially in the mortgage sphere.

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Blockchain in Payments and Real Estate Transactions: Notable News

Image of the Nasdaq billboard with a city scape in the background. Captioned:  Blockchain in Payments and Real Estate Transactions.

In recent real estate industry news, Rick Caruso committed to cryptocurrency. Caruso is the owner of the Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito, California. Cryptocurrency is now accepted at Caruso’s shops, where customers may earn bitcoin to spend at the resort — or to pay rent at the company’s luxury apartments.

Yes, bitcoin will be the coin of the realm at Caruso rental properties. Not far from Hollywood are The Luxury Apartments, above The Americana at Brand. Here, renters will send payments through their digital wallets on the Gemini blockchain platform.

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From Crowdfunding to Tokenization: The Evolution of Shares in Real Estate

Picture of the inside of a house, living room area with modern furniture and lots of windows.

July, 2021 — Real estate has long functioned as a store of equity value that owners can exchange for money, loans and lines of credit. Yet the typical real estate transaction is associated with a cumbersome, bureaucratic, and fee-heavy process that every homeowner is greatly relieved to finish.  

There are other ways to invest in real estate that do not take the same level of personal involvement and work as direct purchases of real estate do. In other words, investments in buildings and land can be more liquid. In addition to investing in and financing one’s own property, it’s possible to invest in real estate exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs) through stock brokerage accounts, including individual retirement accounts.

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