Blockchain has applications in real estate beyond financial transactions, panelists said at Inman Connect San Francisco’s Hacker Connect.

Blockchain technology can be used for more in real estate than property transactions, panelists said at Inman Connect San Francisco Tuesday morning.

Ashish Antal, director of engineering for MLSListings, and Edouard Barthelemy, software engineer for the newly launched Imbrex, discussed applications of blockchain at the panel “Beyond Cryptocurrency: Blockchain Applications for Real Estate” as part of ICSF’s Hacker Connect.

Blockchain is the decentralized, distributed ledger that powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Many companies in the real estate industry are working to use the secure system to speed up financial transactions in real estate. But one key potential of blockchain outside of financial transactions for the real estate industry is in listing data, the panelists said.

“This is about moving listing data to the next level,” Antal said.

Barthelemy’s company Imbrex is working toward putting property listings on the blockchain while at the same time developing back-end technology for brokerages. Along with his work for MLSListings, Antal runs a work group for the Real Estate Standards Organization devoted to blockchain technology.

Blockchain will help brokers, vendors and MLSs share data among themselves faster and more securely, Antal said.

“When it comes to building an enterprise blockchain and you want to track how listings are moving, you will have multiple brokers, vendors and MLSs,” Antal said. “They all can now contribute to a single blockchain.”

Those developments are making progress in large part because real estate professionals are becoming more and more aware of and interested in blockchain, Antal said.

“People are looking into blockchain,” Antal said. “They want to know how this can be deployed and what problem they can solve using blockchain.”

Email Emma Hinchliffe

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