Blockchain-backed platform C Estates seen to improve buying, selling of real estate

MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to make the buying and selling of properties easier and faster, a startup will be launching a platform backed by blockchain technology.

C Estates chief operating officer Elixes Becislao said on Monday, July 15, that they will conduct a soft launch in the next 3 months to help clients become more familiar with property listing and virtual trading on their platform.

The C Estates platform, Becislao added, makes use of the "business and developer-friendly" New Economy Movement (NEM) blockchain, chosen by the startup to avoid human errors and data tampering.

The company's founder and chief executive officer Teru Sumida said they are initially targeting foreigners who would want to purchase condominium units primarily in Makati City and Bonifacio Global City.

Sumida also serves as the chairman of the board of Capitarise Corporation, which provides property management and consultations for Japanese nationals looking to locate in the Philippines, mainly in Cebu. (READ: More real estate development outside Metro Manila seen in 2019)

The platform, Sumida said, connects buyers and sellers looking to transact real estate in small portions as if it were shares in a stock market, making the industry more liquid.

C Estates managing director Gary Hablero also said the platform opens up the market to more sellers – which can either be brokers, property owners themselves, or property developers.

Faster, safer transactions

To open an account, Bencislao said a minimum of $100 (P5,100) is needed to get tokens. But for the first few months, they will only allow the use of physical banknotes while clients familiarize themselves with the platform.

After the full launch, C Estates will allow the use of cryptocurrencies and credit cards as well for the tokenization, which helps protect sensitive data as it is replaced with a token, or a generated number which represents the amount of money in the system. 

The credit card details which will be placed in the system, for example, will be replaced by tokens to safely pass through various networks needed to complete a transaction. 

Given that the transactions would be done virtually, Hablero said the time to complete a purchase would be shortened from about 3 or 4 months to about a few days.

The overall cost would also be lowered. In a traditional transaction, 6% capital gains tax will have to be paid by the seller, while the buyer will have to shell out an additional 3%. A broker will also have to receive 5% of the total transaction.

"Since it will be in a platform, the cost will really just be a fraction, maybe 2% or even less," Hablero added, noting that this small cost is the cut C Estates receives for the transaction on its platform.

Future plans

After the platform is rolled out, Becislao said they are eyeing to establish ties with the government and even open up their platform to Filipino buyers as well.

"Blockchain can help the government help produce a more transparent and more secured and more efficient way of doing property documentation, especially when it can prevent human errors and make the documentation tamper-proof," he added. – Rappler.com

P51 = $1