Crypto Corner: Will Your Next Mortgage Be An NFT?

Do you remember the first time you closed on a house? The never-ending stacks of paperwork and hoop after hoop you were made to jump through… it was exhilarating and terrifying, but it got easier with each new upgrade or move. It’s almost a rite of passage… then, afterward, the upkeep of everything involved and the legal hassles that come with passing down or selling a home. Have you even lived if you haven’t been dragged through the mortgage process?

But… if things continue on their current trajectory, the next time you go to buy a house could be a very different experience. It could well be that your next house deed is an NFT. The chatter within the real estate space is that NFTs could totally change the real estate landscape, and they seem pretty darn excited about it. We’re seeing companies ramp up solutions around cryptocurrencies as demand and adoption continue to grow, and a big part of that is NFTs.

While the sound of it (understandably) gives pause, extending this use case of NFTs seems natural if it’s turned over in the mind and examined. By definition, a non-fungible token (NFT) is just a chunk of data stored digitally that is unique and non-interchangeable. Mortgages are complex legal documents that must withstand the test of time and be exchanged and altered… so that “unique and non-interchangeable” bit of the definition is where an NFT can shine here.

As such, how could it not make total sense to use the technology in the real estate space. It’s taking an entire industry that’s very backbone is paper and a bureaucratic jungle gym of processes, cleaning the whole thing up, and storing it online… can you say streamline and trim the overhang, anyone? Seriously, though… NFTs are already being used for art and music, there’s no reason they can’t be used for houses and buildings.

Make The Case For The Space

According to some in the space, like Nest Seekers International’s Erin Sykes, NFTs could take the entire purchasing process and turn it into something that takes about as long as running into Wendy’s for a burger. Just imagine… the time and effort that would free up for other projects and deals to be tended to. It’s a nice thought. Also, less room for the inevitable human error.

NFTs could easily streamline and improve real estate processes, such as closing. Payments that normally take time could become instantaneous. Background due diligence, surveys, title registrations, property transfers… all of it could be executed seamlessly and quickly via the blockchain. And once digital currencies are mainstream, even down payments and mortgage payments can be built-in, automatically executed, and paid for with crypto. Human hands could have minimal input in the actual process.

This, in turn, will lower fees and other costs associated with human and physical asset workloads within a physical process… all while making the process much more secure than it is currently. The idea of turning the home buying process into an afternoon errand is certainly appealing. And, if you’re brave enough, there are already places where you can be one of the first to get an NFT mortgage, such as Florida, where recently a four-bedroom home sold to the tune of $653,000 and is now held as an NFT via an LLC housing the crypto asset. That sparks ideas!

Okay, now that we’ve sold you on that… what about a lawsuit? Have you had a good verbal fencing in court lately? Don’t look up, because the next time you get served, it could be via an airdrop. Yup, that’s a thing now too. This time, the precedent comes to us from New York, the city that never sleeps… or stops thinking up ways to sue people.

Earlier this year, a judge ruled that law firm Holland & Knight could proceed with plans to airdrop a wallet believed to be controlled by a hacker accused of the theft of $8 million from exchange LCX. Imagine it… you’re smart, really smart, and you’ve figured out how to get in and out of exchanges, picking up a few million each time. You look good, smell good, feel good… then, bam! You’re on your way to lunch and here comes Holland & Knight, airdropping you legal papers.

Around the same time this is happening here in America, other places are catching on… like the UK, where the High Court of England and Wales too has recently ruled that legal documents can be served as NFTs. The firm handing the case, Giambrone & Partners LLP, will deliver an airdrop conveying a “worldwide freezing injunction” to two wallets associated with thieves who defrauded their client. Both recent cases have ushered in the use of NFTs in the legal space as a new tool.

NFT Real Estate More Than “Meta”

Okay, so we can swallow all that. We can buy a home and be served court papers via an airdrop, all within an hour… what else could NFT use cases hold? Land registry… because why not. For many of the same reasons NFTs make sense for mortgages, they make sense for land registry. And this too is already occurring in Columbia, with Columbia’s National Land Agency teaming up with Ripple to deploy the first version of Columbia’s National Land Registry on Ripple’s XRP Ledger (XRPL).

While Columbia has pioneered the NFT Land Registry, they understand this is all new to the public, so they’ll be registering 100,000 adjudications in an effort to bolster confidence in the program. Could it turn out that people love it? Next thing you know, you’ll open up your next issue and we’ll be telling you about how your wedding certificate could now be an NFT, or your employment contract. Hey, stranger things have happened… and if they do, we’ll be the ones to bring it to you. Come back next week, we’ll see you then!