Barclays, RBS, R3 Cut Property Transaction Times in Blockchain Trial

Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, R3 and more say they've reduced property transaction times to "less than three weeks" using a distributed ledger.

Apr 5, 2019 at 9:31 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:03 a.m. UTC

Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), enterprise blockchain firm R3 and other participants have completed a blockchain trial that they say resulted in faster property transactions.

The tech partner on the project, R3-affiliated Instant Property Network (IPN), announced Thursday that the trial used test data to carry out simulated property transactions over a distributed ledger system over a five day period. The effort, the firm said, demonstrated that the real estate buying and selling process could be reduced from more than three months to "less than three weeks."

Currently, the property market uses a paper and email-based approach, which is “complex, slow, and inefficient," IPN said. There are generally at least eight parties involved in each property transaction, besides the buyer and seller, all of whom have to go through the process of sharing information involving many documents, platforms and databases. That leads to “delays in transactions, errors, increased costs and uncertainty for all parties," said the firm.

Using blockchain technology for the process could save the global property market about $160 billion annually, IPN suggested.

Dan Salmons, director for mortgage innovation at RBS, said:

“What has made a real difference here is that R3 has brought representatives of all the key parties involved in the process together, so as a result we can see the potential for a network of this kind to improve transparency and speed for customers, and reduce cost and complexity for all involved.”

IPN claims to have created a system where participants in a real estate sale can transact directly and retain control over their own data. The firm said it is now onboarding “dozens” of more private and public sector firms for the next phase of the project, and is targeting September for the release of the next version of its platform.

Other participants in the trial included U.S.-based law firm Squire Patton Boggs, U.K.-based law firms Ashurst and Clifford Chance, and property data firm Search Acumen, according to the announcement.

Commenting on the effort, R3 CEO David Rutter said, "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.”

Home for sale image via Shutterstock

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