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New portal led by agents "will do what OnTheMarket failed to do"

A new portal claims it will do what OnTheMarket failed to do, and offer an agent-led operation charging every agency branch the same - whether it’s a corporate or an independent.

OpenBrix is set to launch early in 2020 and will charge each branch £100 per month.

From that point onwards agents will decide future price rises, with OpenBrix itself having only one vote - the same as any individual agency that lists on its pages.


The service will use Blockchain technology, meaning that instead of agents loading their data to a central operation - as now with Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket - the agents keep the data on their own servers, which are linked together.

Therefore without a central server or support staff, overheads are much cheaper; this is key to keeping charges low.

A statement on the OpenBrix website says: “We have decentralised the power to the agents, and simply become the caretakers of the platform, similar to a building manager who looks after a building. Following a very successful BETA test, with a handful of selected estate agents, we are now ready to announce that from February 1 2020, estate agents will have full control of the prices and full control of property listing market, without having to buy shares or run the portal themselves.”

It continues: “OpenBrix is proud of its fixed low-cost monthly subscription that remains the same for all agents, no matter the size and stature. This puts an immediate stop to surprising and damaging price hikes from big name portals. It puts a stop to heavy costs filtering down to end users. And it puts a stop to unfair treatment of some agents over others. A level playing field, and an affordable one at that.”

There will also be a substantial part of the site which will be dedicated to the private rental sector. 

“By using blockchain technology to keep a track of all records, tenants have access to a complete listing of their payments. This includes the likes of deposits, rent, repairs, and more, thus increasing the sense of clarity, efficiency, and trust between agents and tenants” says the OpenBrix website.

The OpenBrix chief commercial officer Adam Piggott - a former independent lettings agent who sold his company to Countrywide in 2014 - says in a podcast hosted by public relations firm Properganda that he believes his new service will operate as OnTheMarket said it would before it changed its business model to operate in the interests of shareholders.

Piggott, interviewed by Properganda PR chief Russell Quirk, says he currently has 204 agents on board, is discussing with three large corporate agency groups, and anticipates having 2,000 agents on board by the end of 2020. 

The new portal is working with the fledgling trade group, the Federation of Independent Agents, which has already argued that its members should receive discounted fees from Rightmove.

He says: “In principle, portals do fantastic jobs and Rightmove is genius” but he adds that the charges now imposed by Rightmove in particular and its rivals as well are “just ridiculous.”

Although he believes OpenBrix will “make a very nice tidy little profit” he says it will never be anything like the value of Rightmove.

You can see the landing page and some explanations about OpenBrix here and you can listen to Quirk’s interview with Piggott here.

  • Chris Arnold

    Quite a few spelling mistakes. Are you sure Russell Quirk didn't write this article for you?

  • icon

    #PropTech fatigue continues.

  • icon

    Overtaking Rightmove was never going to be an overnight thing, and I get frustrated by those who seem to think it would be. In our area at least On The Market is making great inroads and we are very pleased with the increasing leads it is now delivering, considerably more than Zoopla each week. Agents linking servers together? Do you really think that would happen! We don't need any more portals, they all cost money, we just all need to get behind OTM which is the best chance we have to bring our fees down - it hasn't 'failed', it IS getting there.

  • Christian Woodhouse

    Some of the claims around blockchain are totally inaccurate but why let the truth get in the way of a good story.

  • Velgram Quaid

    Yes Christian, I found the 'Blockchain Technology' references rather amusing too. I'd like to see more detailed information regarding the use of Blockchain in this Portal. I suspect it is non-existant.


    Hi Christian and Velgram

    Thank you for your comments. You are both absolutely welcome to come into our offices and have a look at our blockchain architecture.

    However the truth is… you don’t need to, as our mobile app and android app are all based on the ZEROBS network, which is a public network viewable by anyone.
    This means we don’t need people trust us when we say anything, they can go directly to the blockchain and check themselves. How many portals can say that? That’s the power of blockchain… full transparency.

    As for what the existence of blockchain, we don’t think everything should be decentralised, as that poses issue of scalability, but will be decentralising three core layers. Identity, reputation and transaction. These three layers are the core added value of the portal and in the hands of the community of estate agents who will act as nodes of the network. I.e the little servers that validate the identity, reputation and transactions on our network. OpenBrix simply owns two nodes, the rest is owned by our agent network.

    If you both set up a node each with your estate agent, you will have as much power over these transaction as OpenBrix! If you want to set up a node you don’t even need to ask us, you can go directly to ZBS and set it up!
    Again, we are proud of our blockchain architecture. Our founder was the former advisor to House of Lords roundtable working group, Parliamentary blockchain committee and as a civil servant he was one of the architects of the UK Central Government blockchain working group. Our Chief Data Scientist also worked as a senior officer in Civil Service leading Business Insight and decentralisation technologies.

    Blockchain has the potential to massively change the tech landscape in the UK and we are proud to be leading the way in the PropTech field.

    Should either of you wish to know more, OpenBrix is an openbook.

    Come in for a coffee and have a chat 😊. Please go to openbrix.co.uk to contact us.

    OpenBrix team.


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