How blockchain and AI helped close a Dublin property sale

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A property auction in Dublin was successfully concluded using cutting-edge digital technologies.

While we often hear stories of the potential of technology, it can be difficult to imagine the new digital tools being implemented in real-life situations.

One example, however, is a recent auction held by London-based online property execution platform Clicktopurchase, which saw a Dublin house sold using both blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).

AI auctioneer

The property in question, a house in Sweeney’s Terrace, Dublin, was being sold by agency Allen & Jacobs. The AI auctioneer, ‘gAbI’, controls the bidding, encourages offers and closes the sale when appropriate. It emulates the atmosphere of an old-fashioned ballroom auction, but in an online environment.

Detached house at Sweeney's Terrace, Dublin.

Sold house at Sweeney’s Terrace, Dublin. Image: Clicktopurchase

The property was initially offered with a guide price of €250,000 and, following competitive online bidding monitored by gAbi, it sold for €345,000. As well as employing AI, the auction itself was also recorded on the Clicktopurchase blockchain, which the company initially released in October of 2017.

Blockchain in the property industry

The interest in blockchain from the property industry has been rapidly gaining momentum and this particular implementation can help transactions conclude in a quick and secure manner.

A verified bidder is able to submit an offer on behalf of a buyer. This creates an electronic offer with a legally binding electronic signature. If the offer is accepted by the agent, solicitor or seller operating the dashboard, a second electronic signature is added and an instant online exchange of a property contract takes place.

Gary Jacobs of Allen & Jacobs said: “From start to finish, the bidding was kept going at a good pace whilst allowing ample time for the bidders in the room to bid.

“It also ensured that we had plenty of time to get all our verified bidders into the online auction room and also allowed us to be able to interact with our client during the auction.”

Clicktopurchase CEO Neil Singer discussed the use of blockchain by the firm: “When you come to sell, a buyer can completely rely upon your record. Intermediaries will have a reduced role, solicitors will have less to check and it raises questions as to the future need for the Land Registry.”

The sale of the Dublin property may mark an uptick in interest from other estate agents around blockchain technology, as well as other industries that may be looking at ways distributed ledger systems can benefit their business. As is already being seen in the healthcare industry, blockchain can create more efficiency and transparency when it comes to contracts and important data records.

Ellen Tannam is a writer covering all manner of business and tech subjects

editorial@siliconrepublic.com