We should just get married. Real estate is a transactional business. Blockchain is a transactional software. It’s a match made in operational heaven. Whether your niche is commercial real estate, property management, building engineering, brokerage, or anything asset-related, you know your work is very complex. Yet, like many who do not understand how to buy, sell or manage a property, some may be afraid to approach blockchain.
If you’re in real estate and don’t understand blockchain, you’re not starting from zero. I’m writing this article to you because real estate and blockchain are a match made in heaven.
Blockchain’s unlimited potential turns professionals into one of two types of people. The first, are those who find interest in discovering how they may make money off of it. The second, are those curious about the unlimited potential of its operational capabilities.
If you’ve yet to experience an episode interacting with blockchain, consider where you stand. I’m the latter. I believe blockchain will replace cloud computing, turn networks into markets, and catapult real estate into real solutions.
Where it all began
Three years ago, I began selling software as a service to property managers and building engineers. Like you, when I entered the world of real estate, my first thoughts were: how complicated does this stuff get?
It seemed an impossible task. Grab the attention of real estate professionals who don’t have enough time to see their kids after work, let alone hear my sales pitch. Property management professionals are inundated with workloads and office anxieties above their paygrade. Why? A simple vicious cycle which I like to call the “CRE Conundrum.”
Put simply, property pros have zero time because they don’t have the time-saving tools of other industries. Because they have no extra time, they are unable to vet, let alone implement, effective tech tools into their arsenal, which would save them time. Screwy, I know, yet undeniably true.
Real estate management professionals have some of the most complicated and important jobs in the world. They also have the least technologically adequate tools of any comparable operations professional. If you work in a real estate organization, ask yourself, is an industry that still accepts using pencil-drawn chicken-scratch on clipboards to deliberate millions of dollars in power usage really ready to implement cutting edge tech solutions? I’ve expanded on these points two years ago in “The Scariest Question in Commercial Real Estate.”
If you’re still reading this, you are enough to transform the future of real estate technology through blockchain. Together, we will end the CRE Conundrum.
So, what the heck is blockchain technology?
By mid-2016, I’d spoken to thousands about real estate technology. I’d even been published in several news outlets as one of the top personalities in commercial real estate online. Yet, I still knew next to nothing about blockchain or bitcoins or anything like that. My first experience with blockchain was in the context of real estate with the International Blockchain Real Estate Association (IBREA).
I was going to speak publicly about Blockchain adoption in real estate. I honed in and prepared by seeking problems I’d already encountered in the property management industry.
Was I nervous? Yes. Is blockchain complicated as heck? Yes. Ragnar Lifthrasir, then president of the IBREA asked me to speak on a panel about tech adoption in CRE. Not only that, I would be sitting beside the Godfather of CRE Technology, Duke Long. Here’s how it went:
Chris Groshong (CEO of CoinStructive): What do you think is the number one thing holding back adoption of technology in real estate?
Me: “In general, it’s trust. I mean, people in general do not trust the systems around them like they used to. For example, why aren’t millennials buying homes?
Millennials are scared of buying homes because they’re entering adulthood during a stage, right after a recession that was caused by the failure to successfully buy homes, safely. They’ve seen their parents, and family and friends lose homes.
For commercial real estate professionals, at least. These people do not trust [software providers] because they are bombarded with vendors and technology companies giving them options. Frankly, options which they don’t understand — so we’ve got to make it more clear.”
Later on in the interview, Chris challenged me again with a question about a starting point. My answer centered around giving facilities management service providers a chance of your trust
Chris: Where could we start, who could we go after, who are the people we need to approach this with and you need to do this with?
“I’m going to go first, because I don’t want to follow up Duke Long. Actually, the first time I spoke to Duke about blockchain technology in real estate, we were discussing, “how do you verify data, for example Building Information Management (BIM) data, or any sort of verifiable energy usage or utility usage for an actual office building, how could you use that kind of data on the blockchain? Down to the kilowatt, so that every single kilowatt that’s overused, the demand, the plug loads that are generated, everything is documented on the ledger of the blockchain. That kind of data being tied to an actual property could be very valuable to a property owner because now you know every single dollar you’ve spent, where it’s gone and why, over the past few years.”
This prophecy will be fulfilled
The fountain of youth is an open heart, and an open mind for what the youth are saying to us all. Put the baby back in baby boomer and acquire a youthful spirit for new ideas. You’ll find your wildest dreams, or real estate tech solutions, may already be on the blockchain, like mine.
There is a project called Power Ledger, which has already begun making my old dream a reality. There’s also SpaceHQ, which is using decentralized processes to innovate, workplace productivity, operations and more.
The new normal is already behind us
Let’s awaken our friends and coworkers to the new normal: Every company is a tech company. Social media is the internet. When it comes to real estate, data is a demigod. However, inordinate amounts of transparent data is of no worth if we allow it to undermine our business’ ability to innovate for ourselves, or worse rather, become affected by intentional misinformation. Some PropTech companies actually turn a profit while hemorrhaging the genius of our industry. Some trashy companies and vendors still litter our land, taking advantage of tech-inept yet hard working real estate professionals.
We need your help to popularize the new real estate industry. The industry does have shining stars and blockchain would help them. Here at ICO Alert, we are fostering collective wisdom on social media, at conferences, and through dialogue to raise the standard for all industries. We are living in an age where access to information is easier and open to more people than ever. We see in government, education and other sectors how useless, archaic processes lead to destruction. Real estate is too important to let it stay CoStar and Microsoft Excel dependent. Turn off the fake news on TV and Facebook — get in the real conversation online. Add your two cents to this $127 billion industry before it ends up like Los Angeles’ rush hour traffic — overcrowded and stewing in pollution.
I’m off of my soapbox now. My point is the following:
As a Client Relationship Manager with ICO Alert, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to advocate for monumental change by doing what I love.