Assessing blockchain's commercial real estate impacts in Asia
Blockchain technology allows all information relating to a series of transactions to be distributed across a network of computers known as nodes. Blockchain creates digital track records that are shared, transparent, rapidly updatable and very difficult to hack. Furthermore, blockchain eliminates the need for a central authority to approve transactions and verify identities.
Real estate is ripe for blockchain-based disruption due to the complexity of the typical transaction. Moving land registries, for example, on to blockchain promises to create tamperproof records, enhancing the clarity and security of property ownership. This advantage ought to make blockchain attractive to governments; and the fact that developed markets like Sweden and Japan are taking the property applications of blockchain seriously is a positive sign. That said, we anticipate resistance to adoption of blockchain by more traditional governments and regulators, and perhaps also by vested interests like the legal profession. We suspect that adoption will be faster in emerging markets where there is a greater motivation to enhance transparency and tackle corruption.
In combination with the spread of artificial intelligence and other technological trends, we expect that blockchain will lead to lower staff requirements in back and middle offices and to reductions in office sizes (or at least to greater efficiency in office use). Blockchain should thus help accelerate a decentralisation process in the financial sector in particular, and to increase demand for flexible workspace.