UK PropTech Coadjute Seeks DLT-Based Property Sales, NatWest Bank Backs Project

Coadjute, a proptech blockchain network, has launched a project to develop new mortgage and home buying technology with a consortium of leading property software providers, and is backed by one of the UK’s largest banks, NatWest

The project is working towards launching its Minimum Viable Product in 2020.

The idea is not a new one. Many people have hoped that one day Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) could facilitate property ‘conveyancing’ as it’s known in the UK, which remains slow, is highly risk-prone, and is inefficient.

But, this looks like a serious effort in what is one of the largest property markets in Europe. The goal is this: ‘By using blockchain, or rather, distributed ledger technology, the information required in processes such as securing a mortgage and finalising an offer to buy will be seamlessly shared between each party.’

‘As a result, the whole home buying process should be significantly faster and efficient. The project will ultimately aim to provide NatWest customers with complete transparency over the entire home buying process via their app. Consequently, consumers should feel more in control and confident.’ 

Or at least that is the goal.

If we put away the fancy jargon about DLT, what this is all about is simply creating a database that all parties can jump onto where vital ownership and transaction data can be kept securely and shared with specific parties, and without the need for any particular party to a deal to control all the data within a single database. Simples.

Why do this? Because it should be cheaper and more secure than the current messy and siloed way property deals take place in the UK.

That NatWest is getting behind it is significant as one of the Big Four banks of the UK. They clearly have a reputation to protect and if they’re backing this they (one presumes) have done some solid due diligence on the proposed system.

The move shows that despite the database tech having had a lot of ups and downs in recent years in terms of wider market buy-in, the tech is not going away. And as seen here, and in the previous story about Sukuk in Dubai, large businesses are keen to keep pressing ahead.

Others involved in this UK project include among others: Dezrez Estate Agency Software, Redbrick Solutions Conveyancing Software, eTech Surveyor Software, Search Acumen Property Data, Conveyancing Data Services Property Data, and LMS Panel Management Software, R3 – which has played a key role in relation to the DLT aspects, and also Search Acumen.

Coadjute’s technology was previously used in a ground-breaking trial involving the test sale of a home using blockchain. The trial, which involved 40 global organisations including RBS and Clifford Chance was one of the first of its kind, showcased how the entire conveyancing process could be reduced to three weeks. 

Dan Salmons, Director for Mortgage Innovation at RBS (which is part of the same group as NatWest), said: ‘We are committed to using the latest innovations to build new solutions for our customers that improve our customer’s lives. The home buying process is an area ripe for improvement, however, real change can only be brought to bear if we bring all the parties involved together. This is why this project and consortium is such a crucial step and if it is successful it will be a game-changer for our customers and the entire property market.’

John Reynolds, CEO and Founder of Coadjute, said: ‘With a pipeline of leading platform providers signed up and ready to onboard, we will have a significant percentage of the property industry on the platform when it goes live.

‘We envisage a time when Coadjute-enabled businesses will be the go-to choice for all customers to get a mortgage and move home in one simple, fast and secure digital journey.’

While Martin MacDuff, CEO Redbrick Solutions, concluded: ‘Our clients sit in the middle of the process and often have to deal with frustrated consumers who are trying to complete a complex process that they only complete a few times in their life. Our case management software assists users in speeding up the process and providing a better service to those consumers. 

‘To have better transparency across all stages of the process would increase this exponentially. This trial opens up the possibility of radically improved communications between the estate agent, lender, surveyor and conveyancer and the creation of a shared view of processes meaning the customer knows exactly which step in the process they are at and what remains to be done; importantly they will get the same status regardless of which business they speak to.’

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