How Crypto Will Revolutionize Real Estate (and a Lot More)
NFTs are easy to laugh at, aren’t they? GIFs and JPGs of punkrock monkeys or hip-hop lions that anyone with a computer and mouse can download a copy of, but that dolts pay millions of dollars to “own.” The domain of degenerate gamblers with more dollars than sense. A speculative fad that’s already come and gone. You know, NFTs!
Well, it’s time to stop laughing, because before too long, your entire life is going to run on NFTs. And I’m not talking about Bored Apes. I’m talking about something actually useful and valuable. I’m talking about digital documents and digital identity. A better and more secure way to handle all the “paperwork” that increasingly defines everyday life.
I’m talking about the end of all the Kafka-esque hassle that kicks in when you want to buy a house or car, say, or register a birth, get a passport or driver’s license, do your taxes – so many things we all have to do. Even dying comes with red tape for your loved ones. And I’m not kidding about the Kafka-esque part: In 2017, the federal government found that, collectively, Americans spend more than 11 billion hours… on federal paperwork alone every year.
Instead of the confusing tangle of file cabinets and separate databases that make up the vital records of today, it’s all going to be out there, unified, and secured on the blockchain. That will make it easier, safer, and more accountable.
That’d be great news by itself, but this also means protocol assets like Cardano (ADA), one of my favorites, will be playing a bigger and bigger role, packing on value as the trend gathers steam.
I think it’s going to break first in real estate – a $326 trillion global market that’s absolutely howling for the kind of positive changes in efficiency and security crypto and the blockchain will bring with it.
Here’s how it works…
We’re on the Verge of the “Real Estate 2.0” Market
Since we’re talking about Kafka-esque nightmares, let’s look at what most of us would agree is one of the biggest in modern life – real estate transactions.
Real estate, specifically the single-family home, is still the top store of wealth for most Americans. But even if you’ve got the money, it ain’t easy to come by.
Even if you’re using cash, there’s still a lengthy, painful series of steps, each one tied down by red tape, and different institutions and middlemen, most of whom do not have your interests at heart.
To start out, most prospective homebuyers will need to get a loan or mortgage. That’s going to require a credit check. Credit checks are performed by towering, opaque credit bureaus like Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, which, let’s face it, control your entire life. They get to come up with a secret number that scores your entire financial viability, determine the breadth and scope of your aspirations and dreams, charge you to see it, and then leave all of it hanging out there in the wind so hackers and crooks can steal your identity.
Blockchain and NFTs are going to put a stop to that. When your personal information is protected by the blockchain, it’s going to be secured in a way that can’t be so easily subverted by taking advantage of the flaws of some organization that holds overwhelming power over people’s lives. Instead, it will be secured by decentralization and essentially bulletproof cryptography.
In fact, credit bureaus will ultimately prove totally unnecessary, as the same decentralized blockchain will be able to monitor credit and provide credit scoring information. The information that supports your credit score will be more under your control than ever before. The whole concept of a credit score itself may become fuzzier and less important as lending decentralizes, and risk is sliced up and spread out.
The escrow process will also be transformed by crypto and blockchain technology. Escrow, the process by which money is held by neutral third parties during the home-buying process, is also reliant on middle-agents. Blockchain-based smart contracts could let the money become neutral on its own, and transfer itself automatically upon completion of the deal when predetermined conditions have been satisfied.
Finally, blockchain would also streamline the handling of the deed itself. The house deed would be, you guessed it, an NFT recorded and protected in the blockchain. Transfer and recognition of ownership would be automatic. I can even envision the transaction being automatically recorded on your municipal blockchain. There would never be any confusion as to who owns the house, and who has any right to sell it. There would never be any legal holdups or broken deals created by fumbling around with ancient documents.
I’m envisioning a more efficient, cheaper system, with few if any intermediaries. It’ll unleash real estate, but even beyond that one asset it’s going to have beneficial impacts on our lives – remember that 11 billion hours figure. Once the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak, the blockchain will become central beyond real estate to every single type of important document in the world. Your driver’s license. Your medical records. Your diploma. They will all be NFTs existing in a searchable network of every important document in the world.
And as this network is constructed, it will drive up the value of the cryptos best suited to keeping it running. To understand just how much of a difference this trend could make financially, we just need to look at my 5T’s system. The last but not-least question to ask is “why does this token exist?” when deciding whether or not to invest.
The bottom line is, in a world of blockchain documents, the tokens that support those documents will have all the more reason to exist, and become stronger, more profitable investments.