We’ve all watched the Bitcoin boom and bust over the last 18 months.

From headlining every day, to dying a swift media death as prices dropped.

Bitcoin may have vanished, but the tech behind it (known as the blockchain), has huge potential. It provides secure ways of making large money transactions over the internet.

Last year the first house bought using Bitcoin and the blockchain by HS Property Group made headlines.

So, will you be buying your next house using the blockchain?

Home-buying using apps could be widespread by 2022

The blockchain is a list of records which are linked. Each block in the chain contains a timestamp and transaction data, which cannot be changed. This gives the transaction higher levels of security and less likely to be fraudulent as all the previous transaction records can be inspected.

The UK Land Registry is creating a virtual ‘digital street’ to transform the property transaction industry.

The team at the Land Registry set out to build a prototype that would allow a digital transfer of a property and that automatically updates the Land Register. The prototype makes use of blockchain as well as an app that allows buyers and sellers to verify their identity and sign agreements through their mobile phone.

The initial test cut down the completion time from 22 weeks to just 10 minutes.

Why blockchain?

  • Faster transaction times. Almost instantaneous payment transfers could take place.
  • Less opportunities for fraud. All previous records can be inspected.
  • Increased transparency. Higher trust and openness between participants.

A digital revolution for the property industry

Digital transactions now happen daily on a smaller scale.

Have you paid contactless for your coffee? Lunch?

Contactless, apple pay, credit cards all offer greater levels of convenience, choice and security when making payments. Their use is spreading as companies that have traditionally heavily used cash work hard to keep up. Bars are going cashless. Big Issue street sellers are taking contactless payments!

However, cashless payments still rely on other technology to work, which if they malfunction can cause huge problems, as TSB’s banking glitch has shown us.

The move to blockchain will also affect conveyancing solicitors, who traditionally have handled the large transaction payments. They will need to partner with the technology companies to provide a secure end to end process, however law firms are still struggling to integrate newer technologies in their everyday practice.

As the balance of power shifts from solicitors to technology companies, the government will also need to ensure their policies are fit for purpose.