Blockchain network aims to provide “missing link” for conveyancing

Salmons: National Grid for property

A house in Kent is the first being sold using a blockchain network that connects conveyancers with estate agents and mortgage lenders.

Coadjute aims to provide the “missing link” in conveyancing transactions and halve the time it takes to buy and sell a property.

Chief executive Dan Salmons said it would enable all the parties in a transaction, for the first time, to track its live progress from start to finish from their existing software.

Coadjute is a ‘decentralised system’ which works by integrating parties’ different software systems and using the blockchain from beginning to end.

“I see it as a kind of National Grid for property,” Mr Salmons said. “Once you’re plugged in, all kinds of things become easier.”

The first live property deal on the network is the sale of a house in Kent, which is being sold by estate agent Quealy & Co.

Dee Quealy said: “Using our existing software to co-operate with other parties via the Coadjute network, we can now complete transactions much faster and reduce the chance of a deal collapsing.

“We’ll also be able to offer an even better experience for our customers by always having a synchronised view of the property transaction to provide instant, real-time updates.”

Angelo Piccirillo, founder and senior partner at AVRillo, the firm of licensed conveyancers acting for the seller, said: “Coadjute’s ground-breaking solution is exactly what our team has been looking for to take AVRillo’s client experience to the next level.

“Coadjute has come prepared to improve the way the industry works.”

Mr Salmons said the transaction would be a followed by a “gradual roll-out” over the next couple of months, which would begin “in earnest” in the final quarter of the year.

Coadjute has been developing its solution since 2018, following tests of blockchain technology by the Land Registry, and the body is supporting its progress.

Deputy director Eddie Davies said: “HM Land Registry ran the Digital Street initiative in 2018 to encourage the industry to work together to improve the efficiency of the market.

“We’re delighted to see Coadjute take this work forward and are happy to be working with them now as they bring their network to market.”

Seven property software companies, including Osprey Approach, Search Acumen and Redbrick Solutions, have so far signed up to use it.

Mr Salmons said: “This is the missing link. The fact the market has been so fragmented has held up so much innovation.”

He said Coadjute had learnt from previous attempts to create a “single source of truth” for conveyancing transactions, although he did not specify the Law Society’s ill-fated Veyo system.

He said one of Coadjute’s strengths was that, as the network was decentralised, property firms could maintain their own software systems, an important advantage in a world where data privacy and security were vital.

Coadjute is funded by international investors, including Swiss company Blockchain Valley Ventures, venture capital fund Ahimsa-Esya, and crypto-focused investment fund Collab + Currency.

Its advisory board has as its first two members Maria Harris, non-executive director of United Trust Bank, and Rob Hailstone, chief executive of the Bold Legal Group.

Mr Salmons said he could not confirm the size of the “multi-million pound” sum raised from investors or the number of staff employed by Coadjute, which did not currently employ any lawyers, but was “looking at hiring” them.

His background is in banking, with executive roles at NatWest and Barclays, where he said he led the roll-out of contactless bank cards.

Mr Salmons said that, as with contactless cards, people in the property world “do not believe it is possible to change things” in the way the Coadjute network could.

    Readers Comments

  • Michael Robison says:

    The big issue in conveyancing is the inability at the right time to speak to the people you need to and, by way of contradiction, being bombarded with requests for information from people you do not need to, at that point, speak to.
    If this systems eradicated those issues then it will work. If it results in even more calls and more emails then it will not.

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