In a series of bold predictions heading into 2022, celebrity real estate broker Ryan Serhant told clients and colleagues that he believes half of future home transactions could eventually be conducted with crypto technology.
In his annual letter to clients, the luxury broker and star of Million Dollar Listing New York sang the praises of blockchain technology and its potential role in real estate, and hinted that his technology team is looking into ways to get more involved in this space.
“I see a world very soon in which 50 percent of all real estate transactions are done with crypto, and where contracts are recorded on the blockchain and ‘signed’ as NFTs (non-fungible tokens),” Serhant wrote in his annual end-of-year letter to clients.
“Our agents are currently working on many wallet-to-wallet crypto transactions now, both in NYC and Florida — a trend you’ll read a lot about in 2022 as wealthy crypto holders look to diversify into hard assets,” Serhant added.
Some of the changes Serhant describes are already underway. Titles to some homes were registered on the blockchain in 2021 and sold as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Serhant said he expects this practice to become popular over time.
But Serhant acknowledged there are still barriers to overcome for crypto enthusiasts.
“It feels like there is a lack of buy-in around understanding the value in what is new, decentralized, progressive, and unarguably, complex,” Serhant wrote in the letter. “We are most threatened by the things we don’t yet appreciate and understand.”
Crypto assets still have a long way to go before they could facilitate home transactions on such a large scale.
Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency, has been around since 2009 and remains the most popular option for crypto investors.
More than a decade after Bitcoin’s inception, 86 percent of Americans say they have heard of cryptocurrency, and 16 percent say they have invested in it, according to a poll published in November by Pew Research Center.
But an even smaller number own a substantial amount of the asset. A National Bureau of Economic Research study found that the top 10,000 Bitcoin holders possess roughly 5 million Bitcoin. That’s 0.01 percent of Bitcoin holders controlling 27 percent of the wealth, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Serhant’s bullish outlook on blockchain tech is partly tied to its decentralized nature, he wrote. The letter paints a picture of a future where this technology makes the home transaction faster and more secure, with fewer closing costs tied to “middle-person” service.
Serhant also spoke highly of businesses interacting with blockchain metaverses. Without going into specifics, he said integration with these virtual worlds — where virtual “land” and other assets can be bought and sold with cryptocurrency — provides opportunities for agents.
“Cryptocurrency has created the largest wealth transfer of our lifetime, and thus many of our buyers in 2021 have either used those profits to make home purchases or actually transacted in crypto, wallet to wallet,” Serhant wrote.