It is a familiar story around the world. In a growing economy the price of real estate and the cost of renting or buying property rises, placing the hope of owning a home beyond most people. This also makes the barriers to investing in property so high that only the wealthiest in society can get involved.
The financial crisis of 2007-2008 reinforced two critical ideas about the realm of finance: first, that the system was deeply flawed, inviting creative solutions; second, that the elitism of Wall Street and large investment banks had either created or aggressively exploited the flaws. Home-owners and pension fund investors saw their holdings dissolve, as taxpayers took on much of the ultimate burden and toxic traders escaped the repercussions for the most part.
The market that was most exploited in the run-up to the collapse was the U.S. real estate market. The cascade effect hit debts around the world. Many countries in Europe found themselves trying to staunch heavy bleeding from their national banks. That was ten years ago. In the aftermath, Bitcoin and the cryptoeconomy emerged as a revolutionary way of allowing transfers of value, avoiding middlemen and the central authorities that had failed.
Now, in Paris, London and Helsinki, and in Asia’s fast growing urban centers, another story is being played out–one of resurgent property values. The Irish capital Dublin has been badly hit, leading to a homelessness crisis and protests against government lethargy in taking on the problem. In the case of many cities the uptick of valuation is connected to the world’s gradual emergence from the recession triggered by the crisis a decade ago. This “recovery” involves particular growth sectors. As jobs are created the movement of well-paid professionals working in finance or technology into already crowded city centers pushes up prices. In the United States, San Francisco is the classic example, with the price of a small home rising to just under a million dollars this year.
What is the solution? One straightforward answer: build more houses. Yet satisfying the demand is often no simple thing. Some recent legislation in San Francisco that aims to limit rents and tax AirBnb hosts has economists in dispute: will it help to curb the problems or will it simply deter developers from building new affordable properties? The tendency of the construction industry to favor certain kinds of high-priced residence doesn’t help.
If the construction market cannot move fast enough by itself to satisfy this demand, how can it be encouraged to? Many believe that various forms of state stimulus are the best option. Metro Los Angeles has begun to give low-interest loans to drive the building of affordable housing. Yet, with the encouragement of rapid construction above all else, we immediately face the problem of poor quality materials and shoddy work: cheap houses that collapse internally or fall prey to the pressure of the urban setting or else damage the environment.
Yet what if an investment platform could change the nature of the market, making it easier for people around the world to invest in property and making it possible for more developers to enter the space, access money and build sustainably? This is one of the central aims of BrikCoin, a flagship project being developed for simultaneous release with the ShellPay Exchange.
If affordable, sustainable properties can be imagined, then they can be built. BrikCoin is a decentralized property marketplace that leverages the transparency and durability of blockchain and smart contracts to allow anyone to become an investor in new developments. Using the native BrikCoin cryptocurrency, users can invest in a selection of responsible housing projects around the world. Innovation will continue in the physical structures as well, as BrikCoin has partnered with IOT firm Synergia to create smart houses that will transmit data securely, allowing for high-efficiency management and safety. As well as the investor/ developer connections that will be made, BrikCoin also favors funds; managers will able to float funds with any traditional or non-traditional investment goal. Each working element of BrikCoin is geared to disrupt the housing and construction markets in a positive way, to better answer the demand for more and better housing.
A work in progress for the past year, BrikCoin is set for launch in 2019, and will be fully integrated into ShellPay. This means that users will be able to leverage their BrikCoin holdings across the platform in multiple original ways. For example, BrikCoin will be the set ‘Index Coin’ for new projects on ShellPay connected to property and real estate.
As ShellPay expands its ecosystem and new projects and interactions arise in 2019, BrikCoin’s example will be one to follow.