Guest editorial

Publication Date23 Jul 2020
AuthorRebecca Leshinsky
SubjectProperty management & built environment,Building & construction,Building & construction law,Real estate & property,Property law
Guest editorial
Blockchain and PropTech opportunities and challenges for land registration
and land uses
Blockchain has potential beyond that raised in the famous 2008 white paper by Satoshi
Nakamoto that introduced bitcoin as a peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that allows
users to send online payments from one party to anotherwithout going through a nancial
institution [1]. The Foundation for International Blockchain and Real Estate Expertise
(FIBREE[2]) was established as a Dutch Foundation in 2018. The objective is to bring
together real estate professionals and blockchain specialists from all over the world to
exchange expertise (Veuger, 2020), setting the context for real estate and blockchain,
situated in a growing PropTech environment. For over a decade, numerous use cases for
blockchain, beyond cryptocurrency, including for land registration, emerged, resulting in
much hype and many blockchain pilots which, by theend of 2019, had not yet amounted to
much in practice (Konashevych,2020).
This special issue ows on from a conference held at Royal Melbourne Institute of
Technology (RMIT) Europe Barcelona in January 2019. This followed with a meeting in
October 2019, at Arkin University of CreativeArts and Design, North Cyprus, organised by
the Dean of the Design Faculty, Associate Professor, Dr Balkiz Yapicioglu. The meetings
attracted industry professionals and academics from Europe, India, Israel, the USA and
Australia, forming a collegiate globalworking group whose interest is piqued by all things
property, technology, law and blockchain.Since then, the group have continued to chat and
collaborate, with the culminationof this special issue. While blockchain experimental pilots
continue, COVID-19 has slowed down funds for research and investment. This is certainly
not the end of blockchain in the real estateand PropTech sectors, nor has the enthusiasm for
emerging technologies, including blockchain, in real estate ceased from the minds of
industry and academics. It is stillearly days for blockchain and property. Notwithstanding
the many pilots in The Netherlands, Sweden, GA, Ghana and elsewhere, there are fresh
opportunities for new processes, andservices making use of this novel technology, both on
earth and in the context of the next stages for outer space travel,in the quest for better earth
data collection processes and mining of novel resources, etc. (watch this space for further
research undertakenby our industry and academic group).
In the immediate future, we will hear more about blockchain in the supplychain for the
provenance of building materials, and in the ongoing maintenance, and asset management
of buildings. Blockchaintechnologies are capable of being a most valuable city development
tool. Data can be stored securely in a decentralized and transparent method, allowing users
to view changes to the database. Within this type of system, users have copies of the data
and, because data in a blockchain is stored with cryptographic algorithms, blockchain
technologies providefor a safer environment for protecting sensitive data.
The present pause in the real estate market allows for more time to consider other real
estate uses for blockchain and PropTech with articial intelligence and augmented reality
capabilities. These will also be specically tailored to the COVID-19 built environment
context, facilitating return to work, universities, schools, with a need for more contactless
transacting, and social distancing in buildings. Such uses will involve space planning and
occupancy solutions, touchless access and asset control, operations-oriented technologies
and tools that enable real estate professionals to work remotely, and data and business
intelligence solutions to help real estate players in a more resilient post-pandemic world.
Guest editorial
Journalof Property, Planning and
Vol.12 No. 2, 2020
pp. 89-91
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JPPEL-07-2020-063

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