The real estate market in the United States is thriving, but there are 3 fundamental factors that restrain it: the existence of intermediaries, high prices and fraud. But applying blockchain technology to the industry could eliminate all 3 of these restraints. U.S. real estate agents typically earn a 6% commission on real estate sales, and around 80% of home sellers use these agents to sell their homes. Property prices are also high, especially in top markets such as New York City. It is not unusual for people to pay $1 million for less than 300 square feet in the most prestigious sections of the city, and only about 10% of U.S. residents can afford to pay this much. Fraud is also a problem, with the FBI recording a near 500% increase in real estate fraud in 2016. Much of this fraud is related to the lack of a trusted platform where people can verify real estate ownership. Blockchain technology could eliminate the need for real estate agents and real estate lawyers, by facilitating both property verification and payments. It could also eliminate the need for certain banking processes and their associated fees, such as escrow. The blockchain could also open the possibility of crowd ownership of property. This would allow people to buy parts of a property, much as they can now purchase shares of a company. This could provide almost anyone with the ability to invest in real estate, regardless of their means. Finally, the blockchain could also prevent fraud, by making it easy to authenticate to property ownership. A number of companies are currently developing blockchain solutions for the real estate industry. i-House.com, which operates in the United State, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines, has created a number of blockchain-based real estate projects. These projects let people crowdfund real development using the company's own cryptocurrency, which is called IHT. The company also provides a way to verify transactions on its blockchain. IHT is currently available on a number of leading cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bittrex and UPbit. It also available on Allbit, Cashierest, CoinBene, CoinTiger, Coinw, Gate.io, HitBTC, KuCoin and LBank.
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