It seems like blockchain is all the rage, these days. The emerging technology, which started out as the backbone of Bitcoin, is now being used across dozens of different industries, from tech to healthcare and real estate.\nBlockchain technology might seem confusing at first, but the truth is that you don\u2019t need to understand it to reap the rewards \u2013 although it helps. The best way to think of it is as a digital ledger in which every transaction is written down and which can never be corrupted. It\u2019s like a spreadsheet which is duplicated across a network of computers and which is continually reconciled. Hackers can\u2019t corrupt it because there\u2019s no centralised repository to store the information.\nThe benefits of blockchain, then, are numerous and can apply to many industries, with some people referring to the technology as \u201cthe start of a bigger revolution than the Internet itself\u201d. Here\u2019s how it\u2019s set to shake up real estate.\n1. Cutting out the middleman\nIt\u2019s not just buyers and sellers who are sick of the murky process of negotiating the property market. Real estate agents are also sick of cumbersome processes and expensive middlemen \u2013 such as brokers, insurers, and escrow companies \u2013 who take away from their profit margins.\nBlockchain, meanwhile, offers a system in which anyone can access and record information, which can cut out the middlemen and give more power to the buyer, the seller and the real estate agent. It also speeds up the process by digitising the process and enabling instant, encrypted transactions and communication.\n2. Reducing fraud\nBecause blockchain is incorruptible, it has the potential to make forged documents and real estate fraud redundant. Essentially, every property would have its own unique record which would be impossible for anyone except the owner to replicate. Only the owner would be able to sell or advertise the property.\n3. Smarter contracts\nSmart contracts are designed to reduce the need for the manual processing of transactions, enabling certain actions to be executed whenever their conditions are met. In the case of real estate, it effectively means that deeds can be processed as soon as appropriate payment is received, cutting out the potential for buyers or sellers to default on part of the agreement.\nThis is great news for the real estate industry, of course, because it means that consumer confidence will be raised thanks to the knowledge that their transactions are guaranteed due to the system itself \u2013 and not just the process that people follow.\n4. Easier international transactions\nBecause blockchain is decentralised by its very nature, it becomes easier than ever before for people to make international transactions, which is why Bitcoin has enjoyed so much success as a global currency. For this to happen, deals will need to be struck between providers and different governments, but as the demand continues to rise from members of the public, the governments of the world will be left with no choice.\n5. Increased transparency\nBlockchain has the potential to make it much, much easier to verify credit history and income levels, and it can also prove that a seller owns the rights to the property. Every step of the process would be mapped out and tracked in a way that\u2019s impossible for hackers to gain access to. Every step of the process would be fully tracked and accounted for, and even the house itself would have a digital identity that would stop surprises from happening once it changed hands.\n6. Fewer errors\nBlockchain technology can\u2019t completely stop errors from entering a system, but it can at least reduce their likelihood by requiring users to enter information fewer times and by having a larger pool of data to cross-reference against. Some errors are just that \u2013 an error. Others are deliberately added by human beings with malicious intent. Either way, blockchain will help to make the whole process much more efficient and cohesive.\n7. Fewer systems\nBecause blockchain could provide a democratic platform for the sharing of real estate data, it would reduce the number of systems that we need to use to keep track of everything. This also reduces the likelihood of falling victim to an exploit \u2013 not only because blockchain is almost impossible to comprise but also because there are fewer potential entry points.\nThe result is a system that third-party providers can tap into whilst offering additional services \u2013 a little bit like how different websites allow you to log in with social networking sites or how one Google account can access multiple different services. You\u2019ll be able to take your business wherever you want whilst still accessing your data.\n8. Less fragmentation\nFewer systems also means less fragmentation, which is good news for real estate agents who are sick of hopping between different systems to find the best deals for customers. For customers, meanwhile, it means they\u2019ll be able to view impartial information in the same way that the real estate agents themselves can, so they can clue themselves up on the market and get a real idea of how much a property is actually worth.\nThis also encourages honesty between different parties. After all, when information is easily accessed, everyone is on a level playing field. The real estate companies that prosper will be those who add value to their customers without trying to rip them off somehow in the process. Everybody wins.\nWhat\u2019s next?\nAs with any new technology, it\u2019s difficult to truly envisage exactly how blockchain will disrupt the real estate industry. The early signs are here and we can pick up on the initial trends, but predicting the future is notoriously difficult and anyone who\u2019s brave enough to try it is likely to end up disappointed.\nStill, it\u2019s clear that blockchain has a huge amount of potential to revolutionise the way we work across all industries, and not just in real estate. But as a high-value industry that\u2019s ripe for disruption, it\u2019s sure to be near the top of the list when it comes to innovation.\nOnly time will tell how far those innovators are able to take it.