Technology

Blockchain could jolt real estate and the title industry in 2017

But don't underestimate regulatory and logistical hurdles
  • Banks, institutional investors and startups are exploring how blockchain could streamline title transfer and drive cost savings.
  • In one test produced by a tech vendor and county recorder, sellers will send digital tokens to buyers to transfer proof of ownership.
  • One title insurer believes "that blockchain will have a large effect on the title industry and on the real estate industry as a whole."

When one Illinois resident buys a property this year, he will receive a digital token. Along with a paper deed, the transfer of the token will be recorded in the Cook County Recorder of Deeds database as proof of ownership. The goal is to show that such tokens could replace deeds in the future. This test will mark one of real estate’s most important experiments with blockchain so far. By providing a secure, distributed ledger, blockchain can shield property records from destruction or tampering and streamline the title transfer process, according to fans of this radical new technology. In 2017, the industry will learn whether they’re right. $2 billion in savings Banks, institutional investors and startups are scrambling to test blockchain applications across an array of industries. The arcane title business is a ready target for this new technology. John Mirkovic John Mirkovic, communications director for the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, hopes the experim...

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