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BY: ESV (Pastor) Emmanuel Inyangudoh (ANIVS, RSV)

The emergence of the internet, has significantly changed the landscape of world business and communication.A mention of the possibility of globalization of the world some years ago may have sounded like a dream. However, today, the reality is glaring and actualization confirmed without doubt. Just a click of your smart phone buttons, links you with the entire world within few seconds; courtesy of internet connectivity. This is what takes months in the past to accomplish even communicating within the same country.

It is asserted that currently about 51.2% of Nigeria’s population are internet users. This has grown from 36.9% in 2018; and is projected to climax 65.3% in 2025. Internet has become a fulcrumupon which most industries leverage for survival and sustenance. Beyond communication, internet provides novelopportunities in Real Estate, logistics and transportation business.

Equally, the use of short codes via smart phones by Nigerians for banking transactions and the use of e-banking applications for money transfers, buying of airtime, etc. via internet connectivity are no longer news. The use various applications for such services as taxi services, online shopping,  online educational classes, Forex Trading, Cryptocurrency, etc. are all facilitated and made possible by availability of internet connection. One of the key fallouts of internet age is the Cryptocurrency.Cryptocurrency is basically a digital currency. Cryptocurrency is traded on an exchange market as currencies of various countries are traded.

In relation to aforementioned perspectives, one may want to ask, what is the applicability to Real Estate sector, especially in Nigeria? Bulk of Real Estate transactions today in Nigeria operate on person to person basis. This means that Property search, inspections, assessments, payments, etc. aretraditionally done on the basis personal contacts.People personally meet up together to search, find, inspect and pay for real estate properties.The economic and cultural significance of Real Estate properties cannot be under estimated in Nigeria. Family pride themselves for more ownership of Real estate as status symbol.

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This traditional approach although good in a way, will soon clear way for more efficiency per the happenings in the global setting. The traditional approach is adjudged stressful, time consuming, and inefficient. It is on record that Nigeria is already adopting e-platforms for real estate dealings.

PROSPECT OF CRYTOCURRENCY IN REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION:

It is envisioned that Cryptocurrency in time to come will play key role and will ultimately shape the landscape of Real Estate Market in the world and Nigeria. It is not far from reality that more real estateproperties will be enlisted online on e-commerce Real Estate/Property Platforms. These platforms will become the meeting points for prospective dealers in Real Estate to exchange interests in real estate/properties. Buyers will contact posters to buy properties they want.

 THE IMPACTS ON REAL ESTATE MARKET:

One of the long term impacts of Cryptocurrency in Real Estate sector will be seen in thegradual elimination physical/traditional Agency Services and other intermediaries.Traditionally, Real Estate transactions in Nigeria require sellers, buyers, agents, guarantors, witnesses, etc. to interplay the closeout of various transactions.Introduction of Cryptocurrency will negate some of these hurdles and connects the sellers directlytothe buyers.

When Cryptocurrency becomes an alternative as well as the means of exchange as opposed to the use of fiat currency, (the Naira),it will therefore become possible for Real Estate properties tobe listed with their Cryptocurrency values and their Naira equivalent. Consequently, the ease at which properties could be bought and rent be paid, through Cryptocurrency would be enhanced. This may further straighten the legitimacy of Cryptocurrency and facilitate its usability as we tend to move from cash-based to e-based financial transactions. This will finally implantCryptocurrency into Real Estate /properties sector.

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When Cryptocurrency is fully integrated as a payment option in Real Estate transactions, it is most likely that the growth in some other sectors of the economy such as the banking, finance, information technology, agricultures, etc. will be impacted on the positive direction.Commerce and trading Technological applications will need to be developed to support the required volumes of trade in the Real Estate sector. In addition, these applications will also need; Security, Maintenance, Customer Relations personnel. These may ultimately result in the creationof Smart Technology jobs.

It envisaged that the possibility of multiple acquisition of interest/ownership of large Real Estate facilities will become feasible. High value Real Estate properties will be offered for sales in Cryptocurrency on multiple-acquisition/ownership basis to prospective buyers, who would acquire portions, depending on their financial capabilities. In order to perfect the transactions, pre-determined smart contracts will be executed online by parties to the transactions.

Controls parameters for verification and measurement will be required. This will enhance upkeep of records of all Real Estate transactions, verification and scrutinizing of prospective buyers, sellers and other stakeholders, verification of property rights and detection of possible fraud, etc.

Besides the technological controls, it will be mandatory to have the alignment of government at all levels for the final registration and documentation of the transactions. Issues of change of ownership, surveys, etc. would still have to be regulated.

Estate Surveyors and Valuers are well positioned to provide professional services and guidance in all the aforementioned areas, irrespective of the type of transaction involved.  Cryptocurrency or fiat money. It is therefore pertinent to breast-up for this upcoming opportunities. It might seems hindered or delayed for now, however, one thing that is certain is the fact that at the appointed time, it will eventually come to manifestation. Real Estate business in Nigeria will be transacted in Cryptocurrency that time is almost now.The certainty of this stems  fromthe fact that Nigeria has emerged as one of the biggest source of Bitcoin trading volume in Africa as of august 2020, and is becoming one of the fattest growing Crypto markets in the world. Per the data from Bitcoin P2P marketplace Paxful, and as of December 2020, Nigeria was ranked second next to USA in crypto trading volume.

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References:

  1. www.statista.com
  2. https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-cryptocurrency/
  3. https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-blockchain-technology/
  4. https://btcmanager.com/rex-decentralizing-and-distrupting-real-estate-listing-services/?q=/rex-decentralizing-and-distrupting-real-estate-listing-services/&
  5. “Explaining the new cryptocurrency bubble—and why it might not be all bad Investors are pouring tens of millions of dollars into new cryptocurrencies”. Arstechnica. October 5, 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-12-22.
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