First house bought on the blockchain

A $60,000.00 flat in Kiev, Ukraine, was recently sold last month using a blockchain. Michael Arrington who is the founder of TechCrunch, employed real estate start-up Propy to help acquire the said property without having to enter the country. The transaction materialised from smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain using cryptocurrency.

Propy has established a working relationship with Ukraine’s e-government agency and ministry of justice. Moreover, CEO Natalia Karayaneva has confirmed that the company is liaising with officials in Vermont, California and Dubai. She stated that “[t]hey are figuring out which laws they need to change”. The start-up is the first of its kind to appreciate that transactions require government involvement. Paul Madore, who furnishes reports on blockchain start-ups for investors claims that “[p]eople can do property swaps all they want but without a government to enforce them, it’s meaningless”. Â

International property transactions being moved onto a blockchain would expedite the conveyancing process. Furthermore, transactions would be more streamlined and properties would be more attractive to overseas buyers. According to Nina Jankowicz, a Fulbright-Clinton public policy fellow in Ukraine, “[m]aking a traditionally bureaucratic process simpler and more transparent is a short-term win”.

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