NWD pioneers blockchain platform for buyers

Business | Sunny Tse 21 Feb 2019

New World Development (0017) has teamed up with the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) to launch the first blockchain platform - PropTech - for home buyers in April, with the Bank of China (Hong Kong) becoming the first bank user.

ASTRI chief executive Hugh Chow said distributed ledger technology (DLT) could reshape property market operations, resulting in efficient and flexible property buying procedures.

The developer estimated that PropTech will save home buyers eight hours. The buyers will save on paperwork procedures such as signing the Provisional Sale and Purchase Agreement or the application for the mortgage.

The blockchain platform will replace paperwork with digital authorization to send the purchaser's authorized, encrypted and digitally signed provisional agreement to the selected banks.

ASTRI director of secured system platforms Alan Cheung said the platform will undergo security tests before it launches.

The Whitepaper 2.0 on distributed ledger technology conducted by the Hong Kong Monetery Authority estimated that DLT could reduce banks' operating costs by 15 to 60 percent.

Akan Wong, director of sales and marketing at New World Development, said the blockchain platform expects to see 4,000 users in 2020.

Adrian Cheng, vice chairman of New World Development, hopes to open up the real-estate industry chain as the market has rarely seen high technology introduced into the purchasing process in the past 30 years.

The blockchain platform uses DLT technology, which "allows all date users in the ecosystem to share customer information and transaction histories securely over a distributed data infrastructure, without compromising customer privacy or sensitive business information," said the HKMA.

The authority formed a working group with several banks in Hong Kong - Bank of China (Hong Kong) (2388), the Bank of East Asia (0023), Hang Seng Bank (0011), HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) - to develop DLT in 2017.

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