Digital Real Estate Titles? Watch What Wall Street Says About Blockchain

Some of Wall Street’s biggest banks — Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, the list goes on — are quietly integrating blockchain, the technology that spawned bitcoin, into their businesses. In fact, Wall Street firms have been experimenting with blockchain for years.

Regardless of what bitcoin does, blockchain technology will flourish. Tom Farley, ex-president of the New York Stock Exchange, says it will “rewire all financial services.”

Walmart Inc. has used blockchain in the company’s supply chain monitoring. In the world of deeds, some title companies have used it for recording homeownership, as the Wall Street Journal has reported.

Trading Systems: Better on Blockchain?

The major banks are working with blockchain models to enhance online trading. These models are centralized. That is, they’re operated by banks. Consider the Onyx platform. JPMorgan introduced it in 2020. Today, a number of banks use it — so far trading more than $350 billion worth of actual repurchase agreements, says the WSJ. 

Last year, Goldman Sachs arranged a $100 million, international bond sale. Such a transaction usually needs five days to settle. On the Ethereum blockchain, it took just one hour.

How will risk be managed? Financial groups are, of course, working that out. In the pipeline is a system of rules that will require backups for digital assets.

Game Changer: Tokenization

Wall Street firms are also working on tokenization. In other words: converting assets into digital tokens, so they can record them on the blockchain. Tokenized assets can include publicly traded funds. Here’s what some big firms say:

  • CEO Larry Fink tells BlackRock clients that the ability to tokenize assets raises the “prospect of driving efficiencies in capital markets, shortening value chains, and improving cost and access for investors.”
  • Citigroup is experimenting with blockchain technology through its “Citi Token Services” for institutional clients. This will allow for “cross-border payments, liquidity, and automated trade finance solutions on a 24/7 basis.”

The tokenized assets they’re talking about include real estate. Of course we’re taking note.

New Kid: Generative AI

Investment banks using generative artificial intelligence (AI) are in the news, since ChatGPT burst on the scene. What can banks do with AI?

Generative AI technology can help bankers:

  • Search for information.
  • Assess risk.
  • Create marketing materials.
  • Review documents.

In the future, banking computer systems will shift from outdated coding languages to cutting-edge versions, assisted by AI. Most of Citigroup’s 40,000 coding pros will soon be using generative AI.  And the digital assets department at Goldman Sachs is exploring all facets of blockchain tech, from coding to government action.

Flash in the Pan? Think Again.

Many of the best-known representatives of Wall Street banks used to distrust blockchain. They thought it was a flash in the pan, or worse. Some just weren’t interested. They were put off by its origin story, or some of the now-discredited figures who were stars on the crypto stage.

But now, mainstream bankers consider blockchain a driver for commerce with impressive potential. Jaime Dimon, JPMorgan’s CEO, carefully separates his criticisms of bitcoin from his outlook on blockchain’s potential. The banking world is taking note. Who wants to miss blockchain, if it’s the game-changer BlackRock, Citi, and Goldman Sachs think it will be? Thus the current race to build new systems and platforms.

A rep from Citigroup sees blockchain’s mass adoption in six to eight years. And that’s just around the corner. Does that mean blockchain’s about to mesh with property titles and transactions? Spoiler: There are already blockchain courses for title abstraction interns. We’ll keep you posted here at

Supporting References

Tanzeel Akhtar for These Wall Street Firms Are Ramping Up Efforts to Tokenize Assets (Nov. 10, 2023).

Paul Vigna for the Wall Street Journal via As Crypto Slumps, Goldman Sachs Aims for a Wall Street Built on Blockchain (Aug. 22, 2022). Here’s What Citigroup Says About Blockchain for Real Estate (May 25,2023).

And as linked.

More on topics: Blockchain deed recording, From Crowdfunding to Tokenization

Photo credit: Carlos Delgado via Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA 3.0 Deed.