Brands Are Staking Out Real Estate in Web 3.0. Is This the Next Social Media?

Jamestown, a $13 billion real estate investment and management company, sees the metaverse as a place to explore real buildings. The company’s been investing in metaverse infrastructure and design firms.

What is the metaverse? It’s a new phase of the internet. It integrates virtual and augmented reality, creating a shared environment for people to converse and interact, from wherever they physically are.

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The Path Ahead for Blockchain, Web 3.0, and Crypto Real Estate

Is Forecasting Anything Possible in 2023?

Between recession fears and a multi-billion-dollar scandal involving the now-infamous Sam Bankman-Fried and friends, all things crypto were on the defensive in 2022. Can they recover in 2023?

And what about blockchain in the property investment area? Any signs of life?

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In Arizona, a Real Estate Firm Gets Certified in Digital Currency Transactions

Chandler, Arizona is a city with futuristic flair. Just southeast of Phoenix, it’s where Alphabet, Inc. (Google) deploys driverless Waymo One cabs to glide through perfectly lined streets.

And now, the City of Chandler has a real estate brokerage that’s certified in cryptocurrency. The agents at Integrity All Stars, part of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties, can help buyers nab the homes they want using digital currencies.

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Blockchain in Real Estate: An End-of-Year Reality Check

This year in cryptocurrency, we witnessed the speedy rise and fall of Sam Bankman-Fried (“SBF”), whose $32 billion company FTX filed for bankruptcy in November.

After the spectacular crash of FTX, it’s never been clearer: Controlling types who invent new coins for the market may come, and they may go.

Blockchain is the technology that gave rise to bitcoin (which is transparent), and then the flurry of crypto coins (which mostly aren’t). And blockchain’s what’s really making a difference in the real estate sphere.

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Could Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence Remove Bias From the Mortgage Process?

In 2017, a small business came up with a fully online mortgage tool. The founders called it an intelligent mortgage adviser, and named it Home Lending Pal. It’s meant especially for first-time home buyers. The platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help them become home buyers. Its application criteria do not include race, age, gender or sexual orientation, or other traits that could marginalize them. It’s all about the finances, and that’s that.

Based on Home Lending Pal’s business plan and two years’ worth of positive history, the IBM® Hyper Protect Accelerator team began its supportive collaboration with the company. Home Lending Pal integrated IBM® Blockchain and IBM® Cloud.

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FTX Scandal: What Just Happened to Cryptocurrency, and Does It Affect Blockchain?

In March 2022, the White House formally accepted blockchain and crypto as valid innovations with strong use cases, important for U.S. technological progress. But any commercial innovation has to be balanced with consumer protection. And it can’t come soon enough.

A (formerly) $32 billion cryptocurrency company just plunged into bankruptcy, its founder now being questioned by law enforcement officers in the growing crypto haven in the Bahamas.

Here, we take stock of what we know about the FTX implosion (details are emerging), how it affects the market, and whether or not any part of this mess changes the game for blockchain.

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Is Blockchain Stuck in a Bottleneck?

An International Status Update

Blockchain is a perfect fit for real estate contracts. How so? Just imagine you’re signing a home purchase contract. You, like the other parties in the deal, have your copy of a smart contract. Not a third party — you.

The contract’s terms and contingencies are entered as code in a blockchain network. Once a contingency is met, all parties get notified, approve the update, and move the process smoothly along.

As the transaction closes, the deed goes onto the blockchain — rather than having to be executed on paper and registered at the county clerk’s office.

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In Virginia, Using Blockchain-Like Tech for Land Records

Land titles need to be stored for as long as the land lasts, and they need to be stored securely. They represent major investments. This is why the title insurance industry exists.

Title fraud is one of the big threats to the integrity of our land records. Criminals who can forge titles and get past the title insurers can steal and sell property. Real estate professionals need to know about the technology that can identify fraud vectors, and repel the bad actors. So, can technology offer “smart” land records?

A smart land record system would keep any and all title activities on one, transparent ledger, potentially for the duration of the title’s existence. The idea is more than “disruptive.” It makes sense.

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A Blockchain Property Deed

Milestone in Vermont

The Vermont city of South Burlington has become a trendsetter in blockchain deed recording. Looking at the South Burlington test run, we can see that a deed on the blockchain doesn’t look like some futuristic metaverse creation. (Scroll here for a look at the deed.) Instead, it resembles your typical property deed. The only unusual aspect you’ll find is some computer code, by which anyone can locate the instrument on the Ethereum blockchain.

As normal as it seems, its existence is a milestone. At its early stages, South Burlington city clerk Donna Kinville described the pilot recording project:

I will tell you this one transaction has generated a lot of phone calls from all over the country and Montreal, mostly from various tech magazines but also one of Virginia’s county recorders, attorneys, title insurers, and interested citizens.

Vermont was a blockchain-curious state even before the cryptocurrency boom of 2017, when many people gained an interest in its technology. And deed recording is an oft-mentioned use case for blockchain. South Burlington’s interest is tentative, yet in keeping with Vermont’s innovative spirit.

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Hello, Blockchain! Welcome to Wall Street

People with Fidelity 401k or retirement accounts might have noticed a new addition to their home screens: listed among the daily commodity prices is the price of bitcoin. Looks like Fidelity is now poised to allow bitcoin trading in some 34 million individual investor accounts. 

Meanwhile, the Bloomberg Crypto Outlook Report points out that bitcoin can’t be printed, and with a finite supply, it’s likely to grow in value over the years ahead. One of Bloomberg’s senior strategists has spoken of bitcoin’s potential when the economy improves.

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