Software developers and property firms have successfully completed a trial of a global blockchain network that claims to speed up the property transaction process.
Blockchain software provider R3 worked with conveyancing technology firm Search Acumen, banks such as Barclays and law firms including Clifford Chance, to model several property transaction scenarios on a platform called the International Property Network (IPN).
Their aim was to see how much faster the conveyancing and property registration process could be by using blockchain technology that allows for electronic signatures and the safe storage and quick transfer of information online.
All details are recorded on a secure online ledger.
It simulated property sales over a five-day period and the first transaction took less than an hour to complete.
As a result, IPN claims, once other business processes are included and accounting for the time it takes for consumers to make decisions, the end-to-end process could be reduced from more than three months to less than three weeks.
David Rutter, chief executive of R3, said: “There has been plenty of talk about how distributed ledger technology could revolutionise the property industry, but little in the way of tangible results.
“This trial changes that. Not only has it shown that distributed applications work and the benefits are real and substantial, it has also shown that there is huge appetite in the market to evaluate it.”
Christian Woodhouse, head of data and strategic products at Search Acumen, said: “This has far reaching potential to turn the entire home buying and selling process on its head, forever.
“Distributed ledger technology has been an industry buzzword for some time now, and it’s great to be part of an international team of like-minded proptech businesses who are putting that word into meaningful action.
“The results will help transform the current antiquated transaction process into one that’s modern and technology driven, where information is automatically verified and shared securely.”
A spokesman for IPN said the next stage was to build a consortium, including estate agents, to develop the network, with a full launch planned for the autumn.
IPN is already working with the Land Registry on how it can adopt blockchain technology.
It comes after electronic property transaction tool clicktopurchase recorded its first residential sale using blockchain technology last year.
The transaction, which was reported in the blockchain, was for the sale of a four-bedroom investment property in Oldham, Greater Manchester, developed by HS Property Group, for £116,500.