One of the most time-consuming aspects of buying a property is dealing with valuations and verifying property values for mortgage lenders. A new initiative by a group of banks and lenders in Hong Kong seeks to address this by utilizing blockchain infrastructure to establish a database of property valuations that can be quickly and easily accessed and updated by relevant parties. Initially in testing with the Bank of China, this innovative idea will go live in the near future, with more Hong Kong based lenders looking to get involved as tests progress.
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We often hear about new initiatives involving digital currencies or blockchain, a new idea seems to appear almost daily in fact. However, very little progress in terms of awareness or adoption of digital currencies comes from China or its related territories. For a while the Chinese government has appeared to be somewhat suspicious of the technology, however with a recent announcement by a group of Hong Kong based lenders including the Bank of China and HSBC, things could be changing.
In an article in the Financial Times, the group is said to be developing a new system to manage and share mortgage information and property valuations that uses blockchain as its infrastructure. The system as envisaged will incorporate data about mortgage applicants, lenders and property surveyors, who will provide the valuation data.
The system is being developed on behalf of the banking group by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Hong Kong Applied Science and technology Research Institute. The idea behind the new system is to focus on valuation data initially as this carries less regulatory concern, and the hope is that the system will be integrated into the Bank of China’s own systems and go live in the near future.
This represents not only a new application for Blockchain, but an interesting one too. With a database of property valuation, it is hoped that property purchases can be streamlined, with more reliable data making lender decisions much easier and less time consuming. Adding efficiency and pushing down costs in the process, the blockchain system should make property purchase a quicker process for all involved.
However, that is not the only thing to take away from this new initiative, the involvement of the Bank of China and other Hong Kong financial industry lenders also marks a change in attitude towards the concept of digital currencies from china and its protectorates.