Online conveyancer claims blockchain-backed transaction first


Online conveyancing: transformed by blockchain

An internet conveyancing platform last week completed what it claimed was the first property to be digitally exchanged online and moved instantly to a live blockchain.

Clicktopurchase.com reported the property – in Trowbridge, Wiltshire – went from initial marketing to a verified online exchange in just seven days.

According to the platform, the bidder’s offer was submitted on Thursday 5 October. Later the same day the offer was accepted, with the exchange carried out and recorded on the blockchain within seconds. The transaction can be viewed here.

The company recently moved the recording of its past digital transactions to the technology retrospectively.

On its website, clicktopurchase explained the blockchain, which underpins the security of digital currencies, was an “immutable, tamper-proof” distributed database.

It continued, outlining the operation of the technology: “Data is ‘hashed’, which means it is converted into a representation of a given length which will appear meaningless. However, the smallest change to any data will change the output hash completely.

“Since each block contains hashed data, changing any input will change every subsequent output which means tampering is impossible…

“Copies of this blockchain are held on multiple servers. So, it is a decentralised database [and is] not held on one machine. Since it is decentralised, changing a record on one server will no longer match the others…

“So, combine the chain of blocks with this decentralised system and you have a way to hold data in a way which is tamper proof and 100% reliable.”

The company offers to conduct blockchain-backed digital conveyancing either on a ‘pay as you go’ basis for a £500 publishing fee per property, or on a monthly basis for £250, with a £100 per property fee.

In a recent blog, chief executive Neil Singer said the use of blockchain was “an extremely interesting development for the property industry as a whole…

“By having totally reliable data, exchanges of information and transactions of any kind can occur quickly and easily, removing the many delays caused by intermediaries who are validating information…

“When you have purchased a property using clicktopurchase, you have absolute proof of the right to ownership. When you come to sell, a buyer can completely rely upon your record.

“Intermediaries will have a reduced role, solicitors will have less to check, and it raises a particularly interesting question – if you have absolute proof in your digital wallet that you have the right to ownership, then why do we need the Land Registry?”

He added the company had been using a more limited version of the technology successfully for some time, involving property transactions worth £175m.

HM Land Registry is exploring using blockchain technology in its ‘Digital Street’ scheme, as are the registries of several other countries, as we reported in the summer.

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    Readers Comments

  • Matt Pennington says:

    “If you have absolute proof in your digital wallet that you have the right to ownership, then why do we need the Land Registry?”

    Because if the tech startup providing the blockchain goes pop and their blockchain database is switched off, your record of property ownership (and means for others to verify it) would disappear too? The place for Land Registry is providing a blockchain ledger of all properties, and third parties such as clicktopurchase plugging into that to execute instant transactions. Hopefully one day we will get there.


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