Homes Go Digital
From false promises and assured rental returns to title fraud and delayed approvals, real-estate scams are everywhere. Buying a house (or any property) is a long and complicated process, and even the most vigilant can fall prey to malicious schemes.
Propy offers a solution to this problem by combining the real-estate market with blockchain technology. Its secure, decentralized, and immutable nature make it near-impossible to conduct property fraud.
The network also easily allows users to transfer ownership of assets to others. With smart contracts, data can be managed by audited code on the blockchain instead of a trusted third party.
Co-founders Denitza Tyufekchieva and Natalia Karayaneva, an experienced property developer, created Propy to bring “self-driving real-estate transactions to the world” while executing all of the logistics seamlessly behind the scenes.
Propy allows users to close traditional real-estate deals completely online, with secure wire payments and verified title deeds. According to the team, its platform saves 10 hours of paperwork per transaction.
“Our platform offers a terminal to observe transactions in real-time, making the process transparent for real estate executives, title companies, homebuilders, buyers, and REITs,” said Karayaneva in a statement.
The project recently announced that they had raised an undisclosed amount in funding from renowned American venture capitalist Tim Draper, known best for his investments in cryptocurrency news website Coindesk, DeFi app Robinhood, Twitter, and Tesla.
Propy’s platform also caters to enterprise offices, offering automated compliance and real-time transaction reports.
Small Token, Big Utility
After raising over $15 million from a token sale in mid-2017, Propy’s PRO token shot up to an all-time high value of $5.15 by January the following year. Over 2018, PRO fell to between 10 and 20 cents and has largely remained there since.
Many attribute this to the overall bear market experienced by the cryptocurrency industry around that time, and 2020 has been a little more kind to Propy. In fact, PRO reported a 300% increase in value between January and May.
Though the token fell to the $0.10 mark by the end of the year, it still marked overall gains for the year. As the real estate industry continues to integrate with blockchain technology, Propy could become one of the most prominent players in the game.
Real-Estate, Virtual Transfers
Despite its poor market performance, there is inherent value in Propy’s PRO token. As a utility token on the Ethereum blockchain, PRO is transferable to any ERC-20 wallet. According to the team, “PRO has value because the company offers services” and isn’t “one of those ICO bubble coins.”
PRO can be exchanged on the Propy platform for listed services and offers more utility than its value reveals. A cryptocurrency is a far more liquid asset than any property, often taking months or even years to sell.
The blockchain also enables fractional ownership of property, letting smaller investors benefit from large real-estate profit margins. Since the platform is Ethereum-based, Propy can also handle smart contracts, which can completely automate data management and settlement processes.
The PROs in Propy
Started by two of the first women in the blockchain space, Natalia Karayaneva, Propy’s CEO, and Denitza Tyufekchieva, the project’s VP of Business Development, created Propy to revolutionize the real estate industry. Recognized in the Forbes 30 under 30 selection, Tyufekchieva is a real-estate regulation and physical-asset token economy expert.
She was also on the board of some of Europe’s most influential blockchain organizations. Karayaneva is more of a ‘serial entrepreneur.’ The chief executive and former real-estate developer was previously an advisor to Arrington XRP Capital, a renowned digital asset management firm.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering, Karayaneva attained her Master’s degree in sustainable urban development from the University of Oxford.
The platform currently has three products: offer management, transaction management, and a consumer transaction interface. Further, the team also has a stellar advisory board consisting of TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, Barry Enderwick, who has 11 years of marketing experience with Netflix, and Daniel Kottke, one of the founding team members of Apple.
A Distributed Neighborhood
According to Propy, the blockchain-based real-estate platform is used by thousands of people around the world. Transaction data shows the blockchain caters to hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of transfers every day.
In 2019, Propy announced that brokerages, real-estate developers, title companies, and closing attorneys would be able to take advantage of their Deed Registry to commit ownership information to the blockchain irreversibly.
The team is also building an open-source initiative to connect with engineers and experts inspired by the digital real-estate revolution.
As a utility token, PRO’s value proposition depends mainly on its active users. More people trading the token creates more demand, which rallies the price.
Propy has seen incredible growth as a platform, but since PRO is only used to pay for services on the platform, and users can make payments in any cryptocurrency, or even fiat currencies, the PRO token doesn’t see as much use.
More partnerships could solve this problem, and as Propy becomes more mainstream in its approach to real-estate, there could be quite some upside to the PRO token.
Property, but Properly
Unlike many blockchain-based projects, Propy’s business isn’t all about the blockchain. In fact, it’s a practically unnoticeable part of the whole experience.
Most transactions are made in dollars, and the network is capable of processing wire transfers by its integration with a service connected to 70 banks worldwide.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Karayaneva said that rather than replacing lawyers, Propy helps lawyers distribute share documents with consumers and agents. Further, its DocuSign integration allows all parties to be notified once the papers are signed.
Investor Tim Draper claims the project has the potential to “transform real estate, making transactions and titles simpler, more secure, and less expensive” by using blockchain. However, Propy isn’t the only sheriff in town.
Outfits like ShelterZoom for virtual office and client collaborations and StreetWire for data services are also taking the ‘real’ out of real-estate to bring better consumer experiences using blockchain technology.
Statistics show that millennials are planning to buy homes now more than ever, and according to a report from JPMorgan, millennials prefer Bitcoin to gold. This amalgamation of the real-estate and blockchain ecosystems is unlike anything else out there, but with the right market and the right timing, Propy could even be the next big thing in blockchain.
Block by Block
In 2017, Propy announced that they were conducting a pilot scheme in conjunction with Ukraine’s Agency for E-Governance to foster “greater transparency, efficiencies, security, and compliance.”
The Ukrainian government has been quite open to adopting blockchain in the past. According to Karayaneva, this move will also allow foreign investors to purchase properties at a low price, along with all the benefits offered by Propy, while also assisting in the growth of Ukraine’s real estate market.
In January 2018, the project had announced another pilot program in South Burlington, Vermont, to record real-estate documentation in the blockchain-friendly state.
This was just three years after Vermont has passed an economic development law requesting information on possible uses of blockchain in the government. The United States’ real-estate industry in Miami, New York, and Lake Tahoe is also growing steadily, with property deals for Bitcoin taking place globally in Dubai and Bali as well.
In mid-2019, Forbes reported that the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a trade association in the U.S., had invested an undisclosed amount into the Propy platform as part of the REach program.
This was done to streamline its operations using the immutable data storage function of the blockchain. With the real-estate industry practically begging for blockchain integration, the future could be full of buildings constructed from blocks.