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GDPR: Keep calm and carry out an audit

12 December 2017

With a major change to data protection legislation looming in May 2018, there is a growing chorus claiming there will be calamity over compliance. Tales of being fined €20m and losing the ability to market to your existing client database are somewhat exaggerated though. Neil Manito, Product Owner at Reapit, offers a measured view of what GDPR means to estate agency and lettings… Read More...

Propertymark Share Predictions for 2018

11 December 2017

PRESS RELEASE: As we approach the New Year, there are a number of hurdles on the horizon but scope to remain hopeful. With further interest rate rises expected, Brexit negotiations to overcome and the cost of living escalating, the property market could see significant changes. NAEA Propertymark and ARLA Propertymark share their predictions for the rental/buying market, looking ahead to 2018 Read More...

Can you help Syrian Refugees find a home?

08 December 2017

London councils are currently looking for landlords who could help house Syrian refugees. Many councils will even guarantee rent to landlords for the 24-month period and cover costs for void periods. Read More...

 

Fighting cybercrime with cybercurrency

Monday 09 October 2017

As a recent wave of high-profile ransomware attacks sweep the globe, blockchain technology appears to be promising a solution to the crisis.

In recent weeks, estate and letting agencies have been warned against a number of cyber attacks affecting both businesses and consumers.

And as the recent ransomware attack on the NHS demonstrated, demanding a ransom to be paid in bitcoin, hackers are becoming more sophisticated - but so is the way to combat them.

Blockchain has been around for a few years now and was initially introduced as a way to store and send cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. However, as the technology has gradually spread worldwide, people have begun using it in a variety of ways in numerous industries, including as a means to increase cybersecurity.

How does it work?

Think of blockchain as a bank and bitcoin as the currency, but without the physical assets. The technology allows digital information to be distributed but not copied by assigning information with its own unique signature which becomes void if altered, in theory, reducing the risk of fraud and money laundering.

Who's using it?

Countries across the globe are now utilising and adopting blockchain as part of their land registry systems. Sweden became one of the first country's to trial the technology for real estate back in July 2016. Meanwhile, the Ukranian government recently announced their partnership with California-based start-up Propy, which plans to allow foreign investors to make online real estate purchases for the first time. The UK have even jumped on the bandwagon by exploring the use of blockchain for the digitisation of their own land registry.

Last month, Worcestershire-based letting agent Property Plus, agreed to allow agency fees and deposits to be paid in Bitcoin, as well as sterling. The move, they said was to promote the idea of 'sound money', and whilst they don't expect demand to be strong to start with, they are trying to encourage as many businesses as possible to get involved with the crypto currency.

London developer The Collective has also begun to accept Bitcoin as a means of paying deposits, with rents to follow suit later this year.

Asset and management corporation, the Knox Group, are another company to catch on to the trend by recently announcing a £250 million Dubai property development, due to complete in 2019, which is offering dwellings to be purchased in the digital currency, pushing bitcoin into the mainstream.

What are the benefits?

The big selling point of cryptocurrencies is the way in which they use blockchain technology to make transactions trustworthy; the idea that once committed to the blockchain, transactions are immutable. 

Because the structure provides a secure form of storing and sharing information online, it is becoming increasingly harder for criminals to get away with using Bitcoin for criminal activities, such as ransomware attacks.

By decentralising and cryptographing sealed databases, not only could blockchain change the future of financial transactions, but it also has the capability to remove the middleman from the current property exchange process.