Propy, a startup that’s building a global property store and a decentralized title registry powered by blockchain technology, has raised US$15 million through an initial coin offering (ICO) from more than 6,500 participants. Prior to the token sale, Propy had already secured US$2 million in pre-sale commitments.
Investors in the startup include RenGen, an investment company, and CrunchFund, an early stage investment firm.
California-based Propy uses blockchain technology to address issues related to purchasing property across borders.
The company is developing a global, peer-to-peer, and decentralized real estate exchange platform. Its online store relies on the Propy Registry, built on the Ethereum blockchain, which uses smart contracts to track global real estate ownership and execute real estate transactions according to regional regulations. The platform allows brokers, buyers, sellers, and title agents/notaries to sign off on transactions within their existing legal frameworks.
Propy has signed a partnership with Leju Holdings Limited, a leading online-to-offline real estate services provider in China that offers real estate e-commerce, online advertising and listing services. The collaboration between Propy and Leju focuses on facilitating online real estate purchases by foreign investors.
The move follows another partnership Propy unveiled last month with the Ukrainian government, a collaboration that seeks to pilot the startup’s decentralized marketplace and title registry, allowing foreign investors to purchase real estate more easily and securely, and enabling Ukrainian properties to be sold entirely online.
The initiative will coincide with new regulations to be passed on January 01, 2018, that will grant foreign investors the right to purchase land in Ukraine, opening up the country’s agricultural resources to international buyers.
Throughout 2018, pilot projects will be led by Propy in coordination with Ukraine’s Agency for eGovernance.
Michael Arrington, the founder of CrunchFund and TechCrunch, has committed to making the first real estate transaction through the platform.
The partnership with Propy is part of a broader effort by the Ukrainian government to adopt blockchain technology in a multitude of areas and become “one of the world’s leading blockchain nations,” according to Oleksandr Ryzhenko, head of the State Agency for eGovernance of Ukraine.
In April, the state agency signed a deal with blockchain startup BitFury to put a wide range of government data on a blockchain platform in bid to increase efficiencies and improve transparency.
Earlier this month, Ukraine’s justice ministry carried out trial auctions of seized assets using blockchain for the first time.
The justice department plans to transfer state property and land registries to the blockchain platform by the end of the year.