A new way of buying and selling houses – with digital currency Bitcoin

A new global property exchange platform has launched, looking as though it could be the ultimate in proptech.

It will enable the sale and purchase of UK homes with the digital currency Bitcoin, and create a new type of online land registry.

For property owners, it offers a type of equity release – and a way of leveraging the value of their property to the maximum; for property buyers, it offers the possibility of home ownership at half price – as long as they don’t mind sharing the title deeds. For investors, it gives a way of buying and trading part ‘shares’ in individual homes.

Theoretically UK homes can now become a globally tradable asset on a peer-to-peer platform which utilises blockchain technology from a firm called TrustMe.

Blockchain is a new type of digital ledger that is said to make it easy to track assets securely.

One application of this new technology is that property can be virtually ‘broken up’ into parcels that can be traded on an exchange platform.

The advantage for home owners is that they can unlock more equity from their homes as they can sell up to 49% of the property whilst retaining occupancy.

The advantage for buyers is that it greatly lowers the barrier to property ownership – purchasers can potentially gain occupancy for the purchase of only 51% of the property value.

TrustMe™ Property Exchange and Blockchain Land Registry will enable home owners to trade shares (‘property certificates’) in their property on an open market.

Clients on the property exchanges will be able to purchase with Bitcoin or fiat currency – legal tender backed by the government which issued it, but not backed by a commodity – whilst the 51% owner-occupier continues to live in and manage the property.

The first exchange is due to happen in London in October, with the next to be launched in Toronto and New York.

London is said to have been chosen for the first exchange, as it is host to a buoyant £2 trillion market and has well established property laws, rights and processes.

Antony Abell, co-founder and managing director of TrustMe™, said: “The London property market, which has, for many people, long been prohibitively expensive, needs to be democratised.

“The TrustMe™ Property Exchanges will allow existing home owners to unlock the value of their own house or properties and to use these assets as a form of stored liquid wealth, similar to a 30-90 day bank account, by trading as much or as little of their asset as they wish in an efficient, transparent and auditable manner.

“It has only been the recent advent of the public blockchain that has enabled the trust that people need to be able to allow the most valuable assets that most will ever have in their lives to be leveraged in this way.”

Will it work? Will the public go for it? Is it a gimmick and what could go wrong? Time will tell.


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