Hype and Innuendo: Who’s Talking About Blockchain in Real Estate Now?

Marc Andreessen is concerned about the state of U.S. housing. (If the name sounds familiar, but you can’t pinpoint it, Andreessen co-founded Netscape, and serves on the board of directors of Meta/Facebook.)  

Observing that “our country is creating households faster than we’re building houses,” Andreessen lays out several other issues that point to the need for change:

  • Long-time renters never receive a penny of equity.
  • The barriers to home ownership connect with “inequality and anxiety.”
  • After the advent of Covid, many workers joined the “Great Resignation” and left “traditional economic hub cities” to work remotely.
  • The housing market is unprepared to address these realities.

For all of these reasons, Marc Andreessen’s high-profile venture capital company, Andreessen Horowitz, is now helping former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann create a business by investing $350 million in the startup. The new venture is focused on residential real estate — which, Andreessen notes, is “the world’s largest asset class.”

But What Is Flow?

Andreessen’s blog post on the Flow investment offers no details. Only sweeping ideas appear, like the importance of “giving renters a sense of security, community, and genuine ownership.”

Andreessen emphasizes the social value of home ownership, stating that the federal government supports mortgages because homeowners are more likely to care more about the places where they live, and able to make better contributions.

So far, we might guess that Flow is developing (a) some kind of rewards system for the time people accrue as renters, and perhaps (b) some way to facilitate a shift from renting to home buying.

Flow also has a cryptocurrency connection.

But Andreeson’s post doesn’t say so. With the crypto market in a lull so far this year, maybe Neumann and Andreesson aren’t ready to talk about it.

Forbes did report on it, and also revealed: “Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has amassed more than 3,000 multifamily units for his new venture, Flow.”

Well, now it’s certainly looking like a blockchain-base rewards system for renters is in the works.

Forbes Follows Up

After spotting a hiring advertisement for “one of the largest implementations of blockchain in the economy,” to be spearheaded by the WeWork ex-CEO, Forbes chased down a Flow representative. Reportedly, the representative admitted that the job description was misleading: Flow intends neither to rent apartments in return for crypto, nor to be “one of the largest implementations of blockchain in the economy.”

The Flow rep did say that the startup might offer a rewards system involving cryptocurrency. And Forbes said Flow will introduce a digital crypto wallet as well as real estate management software.

Neumann, reports Forbes, has been buying up properties in Nashville, Tennessee, and Norwalk, Connecticut. Whether this is lessening inequality and anxiety remains to be seen.

A “Crypto Title Company”?

New Home National Title of Florida (you can check out the company’s services here) is partnering with a Nevada-based cryptocurrency company. The pair has just announced “a joint venture for a first-of-its-kind crypto title company.”

The new entity plans to let people buy homes with any of several cryptocurrency name brands: Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dash, or Litecoin.

“Our joint venture with CoinEver has catapulted our nationwide title agency into the crypto space, breathing new life into the title industry,” says Richard Simon, the New Home National Title company’s founder and CEO.

Readers may recall last year’s excited announcement from the CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage. UWM backed out of the crypto-for-mortgage concept within weeks.

New Home National Title plans to add some bells and whistles to its closing process: “mobile earnest money delivery and crypto currency payments, making home purchases faster and more efficient than ever.” If so, New Home National Title and CoinEver are just putting together a fancy payment system. We’ll see how it goes.

Supporting References

Andreessen Horowitz: Investing in Flow by Marc Andreessen (Aug. 15, 2022).  

David Jeans for Forbes: Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann’s New Real Estate Company Is Planning a Digital Wallet That Stores Crypto (Aug. 17, 2022).

CoinEver via EINPresswire.com: New Home National Title and CoinEver Join Forces to Transform the Real Estate Industry (Jul. 13, 2022).

And as linked.

Photo credit: Olya Kobruseva, via Pexels.