Miami-based HouseBit Corp (HouseBit) and Miami-based International Realty Group (IRG) has announced that HouseBit has completed the first fully digital real estate tokenization on a property in downtown Miami, using cryptographic decentralized blockchain technology.
Using a combination of its patent-pending technology and a land trust created under Florida real estate law specifically for the property, the trust issued 1,000 ownership tokens representing proportional ownership in the property and a single Occupancy non-fungible token (NFT), which provides the exclusive right to occupy the property.
All tokens for a specific property are held by a Florida land trust which is unique to the property and token holders are legal beneficiaries of the trust as per the Florida Land Trust Act. The trust is represented by a trustee, acting under the instructions contained within the trust document for the benefit of trust beneficiaries.
While land trusts have been used in Florida for decades, this is the first time it is being used for decentralized ownership and occupancy rights.
HouseBit’s Land Trusts are cryptographically secured and associated to a specific immutable blockchain smart contract while property records are maintained in a jurisdiction’s public records office, providing complete end-to-end transparency to the token’s holders.
Ownership tokens provide holders, as beneficiaries of the trust, with the same benefits as with any other land trust, including the right to proceeds generated by the property. Any disbursements are provided automatically every month in U.S. dollar-pegged coins directly to the wallet of the token holder or can be staked at the option of the holder.
Occupancy tokens provide the holder with the exclusive right to occupy the property for an indeterminate period provided the holder maintains all established monthly financial obligations as well as complies with any property rules and regulations. These financial obligations are the same as with more traditional occupancy models. Also, for the first time in real estate, through the NFT, occupancy rights become an asset to the occupant and not just a series of monthly obligations. The holder of the occupancy NFT can also purchase ownership tokens and therefore benefit from the property’s equity.
“What the crypto ecosystem industry has really been lacking is more ways to apply the benefits of this technology – ways to move beyond just virtual assets and into real-world assets,” stated HouseBit’s Chief Operating Officer, Mariana Bernado. “Mass adoption of this technology also requires a frictionless user experience. HouseBit addresses these challenges by providing real-world assets on-chain through integration with the Polygon network, the world’s leading platform for Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development. This assures scalability and sustainability, all within an easy-to-use interface coupled with an effortless onboarding process.”
Ownership tokens are tradeable on the Uniswap decentralized exchange and occupancy tokens are tradeable on the OpenSea NFT exchange. This means that both ownership and the right to occupy a property can trade hands quickly with low transaction costs.
Anyone holding the occupancy token NFT has the opportunity to move quickly into their new home and similarly to move out by trading the same NFT to a new owner. Standard application process may be required to obtain the keys to the property.
Properties are overseen by appointed trustees of the land trust who act as fiduciaries on behalf of the trust’s beneficiaries and who also ensure that all obligations related to the property are fulfilled.
HouseBit believes that the future of real estate investments and occupancy will eventually rely on blockchain technology, Web 3.0, Smart Contracts and NFT technologies, while still maintaining all the benefits and protections provided under existing real estate state laws. The approach keeps everything very simple and requires no corporate structure.
HouseBit also believes that as interest rates rise and real estate continues to grow in value, the U.S. markets may soon face another important housing crisis. HouseBit digital ownership tokens could potentially evolve into a new generation of digital assets for real property and help to serve as a hedge against inflation and provide an alternative to passive real estate holdings.
Democratization of real estate and related technologies will be a benefit to traditional buyers, investors and occupants who currently cannot compete with the massive amounts of cash that currently flow into residential real estate markets from institutional investors.
HouseBit’s choice of a downtown Miami condo as the first tokenized property is strategic. The city’s mayor has already stated that Miami’s pivot to high tech and growth as a center for digital finance will be largely driven by cryptocurrency projects. Miami residents, for example, will be able to pay fees and taxes in Bitcoin, and multiple employees are already able to get their salaries in the digital currency.
“Real estate is really the last digital frontier and we have been inspired by the mayor of Miami’s support for the crypto industry and innovative applications of blockchain technology. This is why we chose Miami as our headquarters,” said Lawry Trevor-Deutsch, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for HouseBit Corp. “We are very excited that the public will finally be able to reap all the benefits of Web 3.0 for real estate including simplicity, security and the ability to enter the real estate market at virtually any financial level. Our goal is to democratize real estate and allow people to have full control over their real estate holdings.”
“There is a long-awaited revolution coming to the real estate industry and we believe that HouseBit is just the start of providing frictionless real estate ownership at any level and a very simple mechanism for occupancy,” stated Giovanna Guzman, licensed broker and president of International Realty Group, a HouseBit partner. “With just a few clicks, anyone with an internet connection and a crypto wallet can begin to own real estate in Florida or can find a place to live by simply purchasing an occupancy NFT.”
“The concept behind HouseBit has been in the making for the past several years and has been developed to deal with the fast-paced real estate occupancy and investment being demanded by a new generation that needs a simple and quick way to move in and out of property they can occupy and invest in at the same time,” stated Benoit Laliberte, HouseBit’s CEO.
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