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Japanese consortium develops blockchain platform for home rental

real estate rental

Yesterday, Japanese real-estate developer Sekisui House announced it is using a blockchain solution to rent houses as part of the NEXCHAIN consortium that includes Hitachi. The aim is to provide an end-to-end solution for home leasing, including enabling a potential lessee to view the vacant property without an agent being present.

Other functions include signing the rental agreement, getting gas and electricity connected, and paying bills. 

Last year, Sekisui House, KDDI Corp, and Hitachi said they were piloting an information-sharing blockchain platform for real estate rentals. Telecoms firm KDDI provided identity verification services while Hitachi built the platform using the Ethereum based Quorum enterprise blockchain.

The trio was later joined by insurance and energy companies, and the NEXCHAIN consortium was officially launched in April this year with 18 members. Some of the participants include Kansai Electric, Tokyo Gas, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance and Tokio Marine Insurance. The aim is to enable secure data sharing between enterprises and create new services, not just related to real estate. 

Sekisui will launch the market-ready platform by the end of this year. 

The blockchain solution makes the rental procedure easier with the use of a mobile app and online portal. A customer can preview a rental house online, and register themselves as an applicant using their current address and phone number. The platform uses this personal identification information for its smart lock function. 

When a prospective renter visits the property, they can use the smart lock on their mobile phone to access the house without meeting with a real estate agent. Additionally, the smart lock can be used by property inspection companies for insurance and other purposes. 

The main benefit of blockchain is the consolidation of various services. The solution brings together insurance, electric, gas, and other service providers on a single platform. So, the renters need not apply for a connection, suspension, or service change to each company. Sekisui’s platform will enable customers to control all these services from one place. The solution uses digital identity, which makes it possible to use the same data to sign on to different services. 

Last year, Sumitomo Corporation partnered with bitFlyer for developing a blockchain homer rental contract platform. 

In Australia, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland is leveraging blockchain to execute residential tenancy agreements. 

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