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Blockchain property purchase sidesteps UK solicitors

18 October 2017

A online commercial property purchase in England secured by blockchain digital encryption technology has prompted the organising property investment agency to suggest that lawyers might not be needed in future conveyancing.

Blockchain is used to render blocks of data tamper-proof by distributing them across shared ledgers.

The purchase was completed three days after the property went on the market, in a transaction that was recorded across a blockchain-secured ledger in four seconds.

An article in the Law Society Gazette says the £700,000 purchase by a Swansea dentist was conducted through Clicktopurchase.com, which was set up by London property investment agency Singer Vielle.

Chief executive Neil Singer is reported as saying that blockchain could transform the online property purchase process by securing all details of the transaction in a tamper-proof form and that blockchain is a "game changer".

Mr Singer says the nature of blockchain could make the Land Registry redundant, along with the role of intermediaries in checking every stage of a transaction - and this could include solicitors.

"Their main function is to check that the seller owns the property and secondly that the title is OK. If you have an irrefutable digital file you don't need the lawyer to check it, so half of their jobs are gone," he says.

However, blockchain also has the potential to protect lawyers, Mr Singer says.

"By storing transaction data in a tamper-proof form it could provide evidence to prove compliance with money laundering regulations," Law Society Gazette notes.

Meanwhile, in Dubai

In another blockchain development, Dubai has announced that its land registrar is developing a system that would record all local real estate contracts on a blockchain. This is part of a wider project to secure all Dubai government documents on a blockchain by 2020.

"Based on this initiative, Dubai Land Department will be able to create a Blockchain database for all Dubai properties, which will be available to DLD’s customers as well as all of its government and private sector partners," the Land Department says.

"The technology will allow investors residing in Dubai and around the world to verify property data that is backed by timestamp signatures, enhancing the accuracy of data, the credibility of investment transactions, and the transparency and clarity of the market".

Last updated on the 16th September 2019