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Partnering with HMLR and Persistent on blockchain to simplify home buying

Posted on 02 August 2019

Mishcon de Reya joined forces with Persistent and other organizations to help the Land Registry transform the home buying process with technologies like smart contracts and blockchain.

In this short video, Nick Kirby considers how technology can help simplify home buying in light of our collaboration with the Land Registry on their Digital Street initiative.

Nick is joined by John Abbott, Director of Data, Digital & Technology at HM Land Registry, and Lauren Tombs, Senior Product Manager on the Digital Street initiative.

Find out more about how we worked with HMLR to trial UK's first digitised end-to-end residential property transaction here.

Partnering with HMLR and Persistent on blockchain to simplify home buying

 

Nick Kirby
Real Estate Lawyer, specialising in technology
Mishcon de Reya

Embracing technology in transforming the UK real estate sectors is so important.  Consumers in their daily lives are used to using new technologies to make their lives easier.
 

John Abbott
Direct, Digital Data and Technology
HM Land Registry

People using data an awful lot more in the process of buying and selling land and property in the UK. In particular data about the prices of property and using that to inform their buyers or their lenders more easily than they can do already.
 

John Abbott
Direct, Digital Data and Technology
HM Land Registry

Hi, my name is John Abbott. I am the Director of Digital Data and Technology at the Land Registry in the UK. We are responsible for registering in England and Wales and we have 25 million titles in our register which we keep up to date; 20,000 times a day we are making changes to that register. We want to be the best Land Registry in the world and we think the best Land Registry in the work is a Land Registry that enables and underpins innovation. To do that we are working across the industry through a project called Digital Street;the research and development project that is engaging more than 250 organisations to think about and work on the future of buying and selling of land and property.
 

Nick Kirby
Real Estate Lawyer, specialising in technology
Mishcon de Reya

Historically people are not particularly good at collaborating together and this huge effort by the Land Registry to bring lots of people together; so we had a bank, a couple of conveyancers, a buyer and seller, the Land Registry, the Tax Authorities – all of those people were brought together and used new technology to help improve the consumer process.
 

John Abbott
Direct, Digital Data and Technology
HM Land Registry

We have also started to explore with folks across the industry how technologies like Smart contracts and blockchain can improve the way in which is bought and sold. In particular taking a lot of the administrative burden and the manual process of moving funds and chasing documents up to give a more transparent, more digital online experience for all those concerned, be those lenders, citizens or conveyancers.
 

Nick Kirby
Real Estate Lawyer, specialising in technology
Mishcon de Reya

We're all about using technology, the first digitalised end-to-end residential transaction is significant for a couple of reasons. One, is for the consumers themselves and the other is for the collaboration that was involved. The working with Persistent on this was great, everyone thought that that would take a long time, that getting everyone to build what they needed to build in order to do the transaction from a technology perspective we all thought it would take weeks and weeks and weeks and that setup was super quick.

John Abbott
Direct, Digital Data and Technology
HM Land Registry

We think the best Land Registry in the world is a Land Registry that supports and enables innovation and we are really keen on seeing, enabling the industry to adopt technologies like blockchain because ultimately it will make the process of buying and selling homes in the UK a lot more straight forward than it is today.

Lauren Tombs
Senior Product Manager, Digital Street
HM Land Registry

We’ve run a lot of workshops around problems and opportunities in the land and property market but hackathons enabled us to bring it to life. I love hackathons, I think they are a really, really innovative way to demonstrate prototypes quickly and demonstrate ideas and make it real for people. We ran two hackathons this year; one was around how we could potentially remove the duplication of ID checks in the buy and sell process. We also ran another hackathon which was around other use cases for distributed ledger technology and blockchain in the London property market.  Persistent came with lots of experience in blockchain and DLT and it was all about Land Registry developers building their capability.  The developers from Persistent IT and we partnered with quite a number of other firms as well in the industry. It was an opportunity for my developers to learn from some really experienced developers and the collaboration was great so the fact that they came in and were co-located with the team in Plymouth was fantastic. 
 

Quotes:
Persistent Systems has conducted more than 100 hackathons around the world.

Hackathons with the public sector have delivered improved services for citizens.

Faster development times deliver greater RIO.
 

John Abbott
Direct, Digital Data and Technology
HM Land Registry

Blockchain will be invisible I think to citizens and I think what it will mean for them is a home buying process that is just more straight forward, easier and full of less stress. It's particularly a technology that we think the industry will pick up and run with.
 

Lauren Tombs
Senior Product Manager, Digital Street
HM Land Registry

For a citizen buying or selling a house it can mean a number of things. I don’t think they need to be focussed on the technology that underpins the process. It is about giving their buyers and sellers the opportunity to go through the process and complete it on their time.  We are on a journey to reaching that process.

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