Blockchain-powered real estate platform Ubitquity has recorded the first real property ownership transfer on Bitcoin's decentralised public ledger.
Using the Ubitquity platform, Marina Reznik of Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty, recorded her most recent purchase transaction on to the Bitcoin blockchain, using the Colu Coloured Coins protocol.
The transaction was properly recorded with the local municipality, and was also turned into a digital asset and secured on to the blockchain via Ubitquity, which has already recorded existing parcels of real estate using basic information from some early users. This was the first real property ownership transfer recorded using the technology, said the company.
Nathan Wosnack, founder & CEO at Ubitquity, said in a statement: "Ubitquity's Software as a Service platform created a ledger entry on the blockchain allowing anyone to view and verify the transaction. Using the blockchain as a master ledger for transactions reduces the possibility of fraud as all details are instantly verifiable, and not stored on easily exploitable centralized databases or paper ledgers prone to damage or loss."
"Our long-term goal is to digitise titles to all assets (in this case real estate) and provide an immutable record of clear ownership in perpetuity, powered by the Bitcoin blockchain. The first Real Property ownership transfer, facilitated by Ubitquity, can be easily viewed and publicly searched on the Colored Coins block explorer."
In 2015, Ubitquity set out to create a simple platform as a proof of concept for using the blockchain for "non-financial applications". By early 2016, a basic user interface was ready for early users to pilot the system and begin recording property records onto the blockchain. One of the first to pilot the system is a realtor in Norfolk Virginia, Marina Reznik, with Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty & the Kris Weaver Real Estate Team.
"The blockchain registration functions in a manner that cannot be duplicated; promising to transform titles, ownership, and authentication in a way that is easy to prove and verify. This will make real estate sales more efficient and title insurance less expensive since the savings on research and curing errors will trickle down to the consumer. We have already recorded existing parcels of real estate using basic information by our early users, however this is the first real estate transaction recorded and secured on the blockchain. This was done as an added value gift for the purchaser," added Wosnack.
A new property transfer encompasses all the events in that property's history via the title search. By recording this and all future documents/events in that property's future, a publicly accessible, immutable record is created, making future transfer easier and less costly to research.
"A lot of meticulous work goes into doing a title search and ensuring ownership transfers correctly. Any title defects revealed must be cleared up and the sale is still recorded with the appropriate municipalities governing the transaction. We have simply added an extra layer of security by securing the record of transfer on the Bitcoin blockchain for permanent immutability. This is a huge step forward for blockchain and real estate," said Marina Reznik.
"We are always looking for ways to provide our clients more value. We recognize that securing a new property transfer on the blockchain is a historic moment for the real estate industry and we love being at the forefront of innovation. We're excited to be working with the team at Ubitquity to make this happen," said Kris Weaver of the Kris Weaver Real Estate Team.
Wosnack said the firm is working to ensure full legal compliance with government regulations in the respective jurisdictions; each county recorder has different regulations by which they must abide.
Public keys can be made public, so that trustworthy organisations (county offices, banks, title companies) can attach their trusted brands to specific title records, said Wosnack
"We at 'Team Ubitquity' are focused on doing it right so that we can then provide proof of concept to the government of how safe and beneficial it is to them and the overall consumer.
"The government is interested in things that are safe and effective; they are risk averse and will only adopt technology once it has sailed the rough seas of the private sector and arrived at government's 'safe harbor'.
"Although, we have seen glimpses of innovation coming from certain municipalities, such as the State of Vermont, which was fulfilled as requested by the General Assembly via S. 138 (Act 51), and was presented to the state legislature on January 15, 2016. The article stated this report was part of a broader legislative effort aimed at evaluating new and innovative ways of promoting economic growth in the state."