A Year in Review — 2018 Recap
The Blocksquare team has been hard at work throughout its first year of operation. As we gear up for an exciting new year, here are the highlights from an amazing 2018.
“As 2018 draws to a close, it’s been a year of milestones for Blocksquare, its main accomplishments the successful execution of the first pilot project, where a garage parking space has been successfully tokenized, followed by the launch of the PropTokenDEX — the first online decentralized marketplace for tokenized real estate property exchange. Our focus and hard work have brought us all, team and community, a step closer to our common vision — making real estate investments accessible, digital and global!”
— Denis Petrovcic, CEO at Blocksquare
An Amazing Start
After successfully raising initial funding from 230 members of our community in exchange for ~5% of the total possible supply of BST, we immediately went after project hunting to find a real estate company that would be open for collaboration, and help us achieve an important goal — tokenize the first property.
A Deal Never Made
We connected with INBA, a local broker for real estate investments, and set grounds to work together on a pilot. The team at INBA was thrilled and so were we. The CEO of INBA saw Blocksquare as an opportunity to grow their business, and we saw a motivated partner who could lead tokenization of real estate in Slovenia. It was a perfect match!
Collectively, we put a lot of effort to make the collaboration work. INBA presented us to their business network and officially announced their direction towards real estate tokenization. However, our paths diverged, and subsequently, we never managed to tokenize any project in collaboration with INBA.
Was it too early? Perhaps.
Did the crypto downtrend influence it? Probably.
Have we learned from the process? Definitely.
The Minimum Viable Property
The negative experience brought us back to our office whiteboard. We needed to think and find a solution that would enable us to achieve the set goal of tokenizing a real estate property. We were eager to apply the technology we developed so far, especially with competitors working towards the same goals. All were working on multi-million properties, but we knew from our experience while preparing the ‘INBA pilot’ that institutional investors would not participate, while private investors confidence to enter a tokenized real estate investment was fairly low, so they would commit only ‘play money’ to such investment.
We had two options. Plan A) spend considerable time to convince hundreds of investors to commit small amounts for a tokenized property investment, or plan B) find the smallest rent-generating property on the market — an MVP (Minimum Viable Property).
We went for option B and delivered the world’s first tokenized property!
From the 1st Rent Distribution…
After our pilot went live we managed to crowdfund the property within 16 days and distribute 100,000 BSPT (i.e. Property Tokens) to 19 investors worldwide. With a tenant renting the parking space, the next step was to distribute rent proceeds to investors. Today, rent distributions for investors in the pilot take place around the 15th of every month, bringing fresh fiat capital into BST. With each new properties, a new steady influx of capital will come into the system, increasing liquidity for BST.
…to a 24/7 Online Exchange!
After completing the first two steps, we needed to deliver the third and final step — a dedicated place for investors to trade tokenized real estate!
The PropTokenDEX was launched in November offering users the ability to buy and sell Blocksquare PropTokens (BSPT) in exchange for BST. While we will add more convenient options to buy and sell BST directly from user accounts, anyone can buy BST on IDEX and use it to invest in tokenized property!
Blocksquare got accepted into Switzerland’s Global Acceleration Program Fusion located in Geneva. Fusion is on a mission “to build the future of the financial industry”. From a pre-selection of 100s of startups, we were invited to their pitch finals and impressed the jury!
The program helped us focus on a specific part of our business and review it in-depth, challenging our assumptions and models throughout the accelerator program. Fintech Fusion’s goal is to also connect us with their network of mentors, investors, successful entrepreneurs and large corporations, who can help us as we move forward in building our startup.
After the first months, the Fusion team continues to support us in our growth and progress by opening doors and looking for opportunities within their network. I hope the benefits of joining the program will start materializing already in Q1 2019.
We’ve put some checkmarks to our product development roadmap so far, with new modules coming up in 2019. In addition, we created an out-of-the-box solution in collaboration with 100m2. Together we offer the simplest way to start a real estate crowdfunding business with tokenization at its core. The platform comes with Blocksquare integration, so you can easily create, issue, sell, distribute, track and manage the tokenized properties you offer, while the PropTokenDEX marketplace provides a global exchange where all investors meet to trade tokenized real estate properties online.
Conferences, Events and Workshops
It’s always great when there is a chance to talk about real estate tokenization with industry experts. Our team had the chance to take the conversation to various parts of the world, while the Blocksquare brand and logo popped up in many online publications. Here’s a list of the most memorable events:
- Co-hosted an event at PropTech Europe 2018 in London;
- Pitched and took 3rd place at Blockchain Real 2018 in Graz, Austria;
- We visited ExpoReal, the biggest B2B trade fair for real estate and investment in Europe;
- Spoke about real estate tokenization at the GIC Real Estate London Innovation Day;
- Participated on a real estate tokenization panel at BitcoinCRE in London;
- Held a keynote presentation on real estate tokenization at PropTech Riga;
- Took part in a blockchain for real estate workshop in Berlin organized by RE!N, where we worked a full day alongside CBRE and UnionInvestment devising use cases for asset managers to leverage real estate tokenization;
- Addressed the audience in Geneva at Cities of Tomorrow — a Fintech Fusion event;
- Introduced Blocksquare in Zurich to CreditSuisse at their asset tokenization conference;
- Presented Blocksquare to FIBREE meetups both in Vienna and Zurich;
Throughout 2018 we spent considerable time talking with asset managers and real estate industry leaders to learn from them and understand the pain points real estate tokenization is able to address. We developed use cases for companies within the real estate sector — crowdfunding platforms, real estate developers, asset managers, property managers, wealth managers, multi-family offices, investment funds, and REITs.
Although real estate is a very conservative industry, we meet companies open for innovation every week. If anything, 2018 thought us our mission for 2019 is to inspire those non-tech real estate companies willing to pioneer real estate tokenization in their region.
2019, here we come!
Despite many regulatory uncertainties surrounding real estate tokenization, our road ahead is clear. The best way of learning anything new is by doing. Our mission is to inspire real estate entrepreneurs to adopt our technology by doing, and simply put, Blocksquare makes it possible to tokenize real estate for a fraction of the cost.
“With this short recap, I wish you all a happy, relaxing and peaceful end to this amazing year, and raise my glass to 2019 and all we hope it can bring.”
— Denis Petrovcic, CEO at Blocksquare
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