Is it only a matter of time until the Property Brothers start bragging about their blockchain transactions? Will Chip and Joe only accept cryptocurrency for their fixer-uppers?
While that version of the future may be a ways off, the real estate market is quickly becoming a hub for cryptocurrency transactions. In mid-April, an East Austin home was purchased with cryptocurrency by a California firm. And, now, thanks to cryptocurrency enthusiast Alex Bartram of MoveGroove Real Estate, Austin now appears to have its first real estate listing on the Ethereum network.
For Bartram though, this listing isn’t about cryptocurrency making an appearance in the real estate market.
“The Steelton Cove listing shows not only that a global decentralized real estate database is here, but also that we’ve entered the point in the hype cycle where practical blockchain applications will start to show up in our everyday lives,” said Bartram.
So what exactly does that mean?
The Problem With The Industry Currently
As the industry currently is, there are third-party advertisers on many agents’ listing pages.
“This is confusing for a buyer looking to connect directly with the listing agent, and it decreases the likelihood of the buyer reaching the right agent,” said Bartram. “The agent also loses out on valuable search engine hits from companies like Google, with the credit going to the portal.”
Exchanging data between a Multiple Listing Service, an IDX feed and other communication channels can be expensive and inefficient. What’s worse, says Bartram, is when you give your data to traditional third-party service providers like Zillow, your data becomes their data, subject to their rules and their interests.
For buyers, Bartram says, “there is no single point of entry to the global real estate ecosphere,” and it can be tricky to find up-to-date information on particular properties in an area.
So Who Can Solve It?
While working for RealSavvy, a real estate software company, Bartram came across a company called Rex. As the company was looking for ambassadors, he jumped at the opportunity, seeing an obvious use case for blockchain.
The company bills itself as a global real estate database, with the idea of allowing all realtors and brokers to be stakeholders in the industry.
Realtors and brokers have ownership of their data. If a potential buyer clicks on a listing, that realtor is the only one that shows up. If they have too much business, they can sell to other realtors. Instead of a third-party portal controlling a listing page, Imbrex allows the agent to control it.
“The agent gets the search-result credit by back-linking to their own page or website. They also get global exposure and the opportunity to move data effortlessly between their website, Imbrex, MLSs and CRM systems,” Bartram says.
With new ways to search, store and connect with real estate data, Imbrex takes the control out of the bidding process where data is sold to the highest bidder, and brings real estate data into an open exchange that connects people.
While this was the first listing in Austin for the company, Imbrex has added several other homes in Austin to its listings, alongside a few thousand listings, mostly in New York and on the East Coast, where the company is based.
It’s still an early stage company, and realtors can pay $2 to upload a listing on Imbrex.
In terms of financials, Imbrex makes money off of tokens. All leads are bought and sold and uploaded with Imbrex tokens. Th company says that as the network becomes more valuable, tokens become more valuable.
While some real estate data players might be upset at this emerging trend in the industry, one thing is clear: Imbrex is just one of dozens of innovative startups finding new, tech-enabled ways to navigate the home buying and selling process.
Earlier this year, Keller Williams, the country’s largest real estate brokerage, proudly declared that it’s now a technology company. It was a bold stance for the nation’s largest real estate brokerage. Some saw an innovative new mission fueled by a booming company. Others laughed at the idea of such a transformation for an industry, that … Continue reading