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A Crash Course in Blockchain for Real Estate Professionals

Real estate — the transaction of value assigned to land and living space — is one of the oldest and most essential industries in the world. Almost every single human being relies on it for their most basic needs. But whereas many fields have globalized and democratized in the internet age, real estate has barely even digitized. Buyers, sellers, brokers, appraisers, and investors around the world still use outmoded technologies to do business in a system that is hindered by inefficiencies.

Some examples with which you are likely all too familiar: Listing a property on a centralized MLS portal is remarkably expensive. Listing one property can cost hundreds of dollars on a single platform. Access to listing data is siloed and paywalled, often inaccurate and outdated, and costly intermediaries block every juncture. Even worse, the escrow process routinely extends beyond a whole season of the year! If there is one industry in the world most ready for a blockchain solution, it’s real estate — and the time for change is now.

REX — a global, decentralized ecosystem for real estate listings — is on a mission to free real estate data. Built on Ethereum and fueled by digital currency, REX brings the blockchain to real estate, and will empower the whole industry.

Here’s how it works: Whereas legacy listing services across the globe are designed to profit by siloing data both residential and commercial, REX is built on listing information submitted by users, vetted by the community, and distributed freely all throughout the world. REX is a portal where brokers, agents, landlords and everyday people alike can post property information and the incubator for that data is community owned. This will lead to a new type of digital marketplace of information that is confirmed and validated by the community. And not only is REX free to use, it actually rewards contributors for their input!

Conceived in 2016 and built on the Ethereum blockchain, REX’s global, decentralized database of listings — the RexIndexer — will be free to anyone to view, while registered users are incentivized to provide accurate, complete, and verifiable data. Scaled globally on the Ethereum blockchain and utilizing the Interplanetary File System and ElasticSearch, REX is like every separate portal in the world, rolled into one democratized marketplace, and incentivized and fueled through the REX Token, which was successfully launched in the Summer of 2017.

Industry leaders, firms, brokers and lenders are starting to realize the blockchain is not just some quixotic idea dreamt up by young, upstart software developers and techno-libertarians. It has become increasingly evident that blockchain technology, distributed ledgers, decentralized networks, and token economics will propel industries all over the world into a new era of enterprise. In particular, how we think about real estate, finance, economics and technology is about to change drastically. Distributed ledgers and decentralized networks allow information to be shared by the shared power of the network itself, rather than held up in central servers. Similarly, REX aims to become an open marketplace for the data exchange of global real estate.

“For too long, data has been held by the few and sold to the many — which restricts innovation,” says REX CEO Stephen King. In returning access to data to the people, REX will have a democratizing effect on the real estate industry. And more eyes on more data is good news for the whole industry — from firms and agents to buyers, sellers, landlords even appraisers. “Everyone involved benefits from this shared ecosystem,” says King.

“The listing agent gets more eyeballs on their listing. It will no longer be restricted to a state, territory or country. Listing data will flow as freely across state lines and borders as emails do,” King continues. “Buyers get more choice. Firms get an increase in transaction volume. And while REX is building the infrastructure upon which the data will live, it’s the participants who own the ecosystem, and users are in control of their information.”

With accurate, complete, and global datasets at the fingertips of users, REX provides a fertile environment for innovation in the real estate industry. “Users can build better tools with accessible real estate information. Better spam feeds, market reports, tax information,” confirms Stephen King. “Crypto-economics gives us the ability to motivate people to upload data that may sit at their local municipality by compensating users for their work via the REX Token, which is readily tradable with digital currencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin on a number of popular exchanges. Info (tax, title, surveys) that currently sits in paper format at local towns can be freed by people living in the community, who are rewarded for their involvement in the REX ecosystem.”

The removal of barriers between users and information — built on the blockchain via REX — may ignite true innovation to the real estate industry. With shared networks, accurate, and user-generated data at the fingertips of professionals around the world, the real estate industry may finally be poised to step into the 21st century.

The Rex Alpha launches in early 2018 with an initial focus in New York City and Chicago. Interested in learning more? Get in touch.