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Is home purchase via blockchain now closer to becoming mainstream?

11 December 2019 15856 Views
Is home purchase via blockchain now closer to becoming mainstream?

A new tie-up between Coadjute, a network for decentralised workflow and data sharing within the property industry, and banks including NatWest has brought home purchase via blockchain one step closer.

The project to develop new mortgage and homebuying technology will involve a consortium of leading property software providers and NatWest, one of the UK’s leading high street banks.

The main goal of the technology is to speed up and simplify the entire homebuying process – something which the government, Land Registry and other industry stakeholders have been battling with of late – and then make it available via NatWest’s mobile banking app.

To make this achievable, a consortium has been created with a number of software providers from each stage of the homebuying process.

How will it work? 

Coadjute and NatWest will collaborate to create a new end-to-end homebuying journey by connecting each software provider’s platform and building a decentralised home buying network.

Using blockchain – also known as distributed ledger technology - means the information required in processes such as securing a mortgage and finalising an offer to buy will be seamlessly shared between each party, those behind the project say.

This more seamless sharing of information should, in turn, make the whole homebuying process much faster and more efficient. Ultimately, the project aims to provide NatWest customers with complete transparency over the entire homebuying process via their app, enable consumers to feel more in control and confident throughout. 

There is a precedent for this, with Coadjute’s technology previously used in a ground-breaking trial which involved the test sale of a home using blockchain. Involving 40 global organisations, including RBS and Clifford Chance, the sale was one of the first of its kind and ‘showcased how the entire conveyancing process could be reduced to three weeks’. 

Dan Salmons, director for mortgage innovation at RBS, which owns NatWest, said: “We are committed to using the latest innovations to build new solutions for our customers that improve our customer’s lives.”

He believes the homebuying process is an area ripe for improvement, but that real change can only be brought to bear when all the parties involved come together.

“This is why this project and consortium is such a crucial step and if it is successful it will be a game-changer for our customers and the entire property market,” he added.

John Reynolds, chief executive and founder of Coadjute, meanwhile said customer adoption would be driven by businesses coming together to provide a joined-up service.

“Even at this stage, we have connected up 12% of the mortgages market, 1,000 estate agency brands, 4,000 conveyancers, and 80% of all property valuation instructions. With a pipeline of leading platform providers signed up and ready to onboard, we will have a significant percentage of the property industry on the platform when it goes live.”

He added: “We envisage a time when Coadjute-enabled businesses will be the go-to choice for all customers to get a mortgage and move home in one simple, fast and secure digital journey.”

The project is working towards launching its Minimum Viable Product in 2020, with Coadjute’s proposition further strengthened by the team’s work with HM Land Registry’s Digital Street project, where they beat a number of large corporations to win a major R&D project to use distributed ledger technology to explore connecting a central land registry with businesses.

Coadjute’s trial was built on Corda Network and hosted on Microsoft Azure in what is known as a R3 CorDapp Trial.

We previously explored Land Registry’s embracing of tech and whether bitcoin – which relies on blockchain technology – could be the future currency of property sales.

As we can see from the above, there is clearly a desire for software providers to be more involved in the property industry – and also for the industry itself to be more digital and tech-led than ever before to speed up the homebuying and selling process.

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