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Transforming real estate through blockchain

by Abigail Bautista

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges for industries around the world, but it has also accelerated digital transformation in many sectors. One such success story is Propchain, a blockchain-powered proptech ecosystem led by 26-year-old Robin Ubaghs. Propchain focuses on the proptech and fintech aspects of the real estate industry and aims to create a blockchain-based ecosystem where various proptech-related concepts are developed and utilized.

One of Propchain’s key concepts is a fractionalized real estate investment platform, which allows people to buy fractions of global real estate assets. This concept aims to make the thriving Dubai real estate market more accessible to a wider range of investors. Additionally, Propchain is working on a vertical that empowers home ownership within challenging markets such as the UAE, where the majority of residents are renting their primary homes. Their solution allows tenants to build equity in the homes they are living in by reserving a percentage of the rent toward future home purchases. This aligns with the UAE government’s goals of establishing family-based home ownership and reducing the rental-driven nature of the market.

Ubaghs, who relocated to Dubai six years ago, was captivated by the city’s culture and entrepreneurial environment. He had already shown an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, owning shares in an asset management company in London at just 17 years old. Ubaghs faced challenges when establishing Propchain, particularly in establishing the brand and navigating regulatory hurdles for their innovative concepts. However, the company has seen success, with notable listings including a downtown penthouse in Dubai and a villa project in Tulum, Mexico.

The application of blockchain technology in the real estate industry addresses outdated and cumbersome practices, making trades and liquidity more efficient. Propchain leverages blockchain through tokenization technology, converting property fractions into security tokens, each representing ownership rights in the property. This approach offers advantages such as transparency and easily accessible property history.

Ubaghs also notes the rising popularity of digital assets in the real estate industry, driven by a desire for convenience and liquidity. Digital assets streamline processes, enhance liquidity, and enable asset-backed lending through decentralized finance. This movement presents opportunities for convenient lending and leveraging of assets, eliminating the need for traditional credit checks.

In addition to Propchain, Ubaghs co-founded Welfare Group, which operates primarily in the real estate sector. Under the Welfare Group umbrella, Welfare Capital focuses on investment management, trade, and capital placements for real estate development projects. Welfare Developments, a property development subsidiary, has already introduced projects in Dubai, Tulum, the UK, and Spain.

Looking ahead, Propchain aims to introduce the home-ownership model to the UAE market and expand its investment platform. Ubaghs believes that combining the ventures of Propchain and Welfare Group will create a formidable force in the industry, thanks to their full supply chain and innovative technological approach.

Overall, Propchain and its young leader, Robin Ubaghs, exemplify the success stories that have emerged from the accelerated digital transformation prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic. By utilizing blockchain technology and innovative concepts, Propchain is making real estate more accessible and beneficial to a wider range of investors.

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