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Japan Gets Its Blocks Off
The East Asian power is once again living up to its reputation as a tech innovator – with blockchain, crypto and other fintech advances changing the face of the country’s real estate industry
Steve Finch

In Oji, a northern suburb of Tokyo, a robot conducts a sublease rent assessment on a new-build near the local train station. The transaction—which uses a smartphone to photograph the shape of the plot and then estimate the maximum expected revenue and land price after [virtually] constructing a variety of buildings on the land—is done in 20 seconds. That is a sneeze compared to the usual one-week callback a client would expect when dealing with a human realtor.

Welcome to the future of real estate courtesy of Zweispace, a Tokyo-based proptech company. Among the first wave of property firms to focus solely on blockchain and artificial intelligence to bring lightning-speed services to the industry, Zweispace recently completed a patent on its new Autocalc property robot at the end of June— an industry first. It’s a monumental development, but one that may not be warmly welcomed by a conservative real estate sector—least of all the wary humans whose jobs could very well end up obsolete.

But rather than replacing humans entirely, Zweispace argues that most of its blockchain initiatives are designed to make realty work simpler (and cheaper) for people. Last year, its partnership with real estate site Hudosanya.co.jp enabled the latter to offer free listings on its site using blockchain registration.

Escrow Agent Japan and luxury developer Presi, both based in Tokyo, have also teamed up with Zweispace—a move that helped to speed up and reduce the cost of drawing up architect plans, property appraisals, and land purchases. Zweispace has also announced a “real-estate robot tax,” contributing one percent of all profits to a creative industry fund as part of its corporate self-tax scheme.

Today, Zweispace’s sphere of influence is spreading beyond Japan. In May, Bitcoin SV saw its value quadruple in just a few days to USD232 after Zweispace announced the new Bitcoin as its preferred cryptocurrency. The company, which plans to patent and spread its blockchain-built property solutions across Asia, is seeking partners in China, India, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

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