Q: Can you please tell us about your company and the specific problem or challenge that you are addressing?
The global property market is worth over 217 trillion USD, more than all the gold and bitcoin in the world combined. Yet it suffers from long-standing issues such as geographic segmentation, high entry barriers, a lack of transparency, and centralization by national and financial institutions. Dominium is solving some of these problems by using blockchain technology to add much needed transparency to the industry. Dominium is the first global property platform and, with widescale adoption, could effectively become an international land registry, using blockchain to record property ownership across the globe.
A short introduction video: https://youtu.be/D215PuSprrE
Q: Can you please tell us a little about the market and the market opportunity?
Property is a vast global industry with almost unimaginable scope. Ironically, it is also one of the most outdated industries in the world, technologically speaking. We live in a digital era in which there are apps and other digital tools for almost everything, yet we still rely on estate agents to buy a house. Dominium aims to digitalise the property world, providing tools and services to a global audience, and bring the real estate space into the technological era.
The real estate market is complex, subject to varied challenges such as proof of ownership, regulations, taxes, banks, government agencies, and lawyers. It is a market that would vastly benefit from simplification, and the removal of unnecessary parties and costs. By standardizing legal documents, providing digital communication tools and providing a reliable, trustless marketplace on which transactions are irreversibly recorded, Dominium will benefit the market as a whole. We will enable users from all over the world to trade with each other, communicate and access property information. Aside from the transition from a siloed marketplace to a global network, the use of modern technologies will greatly benefit companies as they will be able to reduce costs and increase their focus on core operational tasks.
James Paine – a real estate entrepreneur, blogger and investor based in San Diego, explains the state of the property industry in this blog article:
Q: Please tell us a little about your technology that drives your platform?
The Dominium platform is a property platform with many tools and features aimed to help real estate professionals as well as renters, buyers, investors, etc. It has been under development for many months and is already functioning in Alpha, with the Dominium community testing it for bugs and user experience. The platform includes a CRM system, a support ticket system, an asset creation system and much more. Importantly, the Dominium translation module allows the global community to translate the entire platform, and to maintain the system accurately updated in several (and perhaps one day all) languages.
The Dominium platform has been designed to support varying clearance levels in order to conform with regulatory laws. Users have to comply with AML/KYC procedures before being allowed to access certain features on the platform. Regulatory compliance is an important part of our vision and a major challenge in the industry. As a regulated company, it is important that the technology we are designing supports the platform’s real world industry applications.
Dominium’s blockchain element is built on an Ardor childchain. Ardor technology has evolved from the time tested nxt, and has managed to overcome some of the most significant blockchain issues, such as blockchain bloat and long transaction times.
The platform has been developed by real estate professionals to include the features and tools that we use ourselves every day. It combines robust blockchain technology with traditional systems to provide an all-in-one solution for consumers, investors, authorities and organisations.
Q: What platform does your technology embrace?
Dominium decided not to build the platform on Ethereum and instead chose to use an Ardor childchain as its blockchain backbone. Created in 2017, Ardor is the successor of Nxt, providing scalability while maintaining the security features of the original blockchain.
By adopting a childchain structure, blockchain bloat, high transaction fees and long transaction times are avoided without compromising the store of information on the blockchain.
Ardor’s post provides a good comparison between the widely known concept of sidechains and Ardor childchains: https://www.jelurida.com/child-chains-and-side-chains
Q: Why have you chosen this platform as opposed to others?
There are several factors that contributed to our choice of running Dominium on a bespoke Ardor childchain, aside from blockchain bloat and long transaction times. Importantly, Ardor supports zero fee transactions which enables users of the Dominium platform to enjoy the benefits of blockchain technology without having to hold multiple tokens. For example, we could have used ERC-20 as our blockchain backbone but then transaction fees would still be denominated in ETH.
Lior Yaffe, one of the founders of Jelurida and a core-programmer of the original Nxt wrote the perfect article to illustrate this issue. https://medium.com/@lyaffe/benefits-of-ardor-0-fee-transactions-355ca775c3b6
Ardor also offers a detailed controlled assets management system, which allows us to implement a clearance level system that is compliant with KYC/AML regulations. With the prospect of managing many different funds, properties and rentals on the platform we need a high level of asset and transaction management capabilities, which Ardor provides.
Other built-in features of Ardor include secure messaging, voting and a transaction system which fit the Dominium platform functionality.
Q: What is your vision for blockchain over the next 5 years and what role will your company play?
Blockchain is already disrupting banking and financial markets, and we strongly believe that next in line for revision are more traditional markets and business models. With improved travel, communication and development, we are very much in an era of globalisation. We hope that Dominium will be one of the first companies to close the geographical and language gap and open up the real estate industry to a global audience.
Blockchain has placed a big question mark over traditional business practices, and the property market has to be one of the most susceptible to reform. We believe that blockchain has the potential to replace estate agents, notaries, banks and even local land registries.
Addison Cameron-Huff wrote a comprehensive article on the matter and explored various applications of the technology and the implications on traditional systems. https://www.nasdaq.com/article/how-tokenization-is-putting-real-world-assets-on-blockchains-cm767952
Q: What geographic markets are you focusing on currently?
Dominium is a global platform, so we hope to enter all geographic markets – eventually. We already have users in over 150 countries and many community members working on translation and international exposure. Having said that, with nearly 200 years of real estate experience in the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Germany, we have located our head office in Rotterdam and have a stronger presence in Europe at the moment. Moreover, as soon as Dominium is complete, we will place our own property assets on the platform and these are located in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
One of our main developmental goals is to create standardised regulatory documents so that users can set up property funds without the use of expensive lawyers and advisors. Our plan is to draft regulatory templates that will generate legally compliant documents, such as a fund prospectus, which will be available to companies for a fraction of the price of creating them with the help of lawyers. The property fund market will therefore be one of our next focuses.
Q: What are the key user benefits and features of your platform?
The platform will allow users all over the world to buy, sell, rent, invest, finance etc. property assets in a simple, safe and inexpensive environment. Investors will be able to purchase property from $1, €1, £1 etc. Companies will be able to launch a regulated fund quickly and inexpensively. Users will have instant access to property information such as previous values, renovation details and potential problems. Governments will be able to monitor regulatory compliance. There are many benefits that we could list but underlying them all is the concept of transparency and compliance, which are at the core of our vision.
Q: Who are your competitors?
With an ambitious project such as ours, competitors could arguably include Zillow, Blackstone and Remax, but for now we would mainly consider others in the blockchain space that are focused on the tokenisation of assets. Bloqhouse is one such company, incidentally also based in the Netherlands. Their focus goes beyond real estate and offers a simple solution for businesses to manage regular assets. Cprop is another blockchain company that aims to remove anxiety from long-distance transactions within the real estate industry. Their aim is to remove the “middle-man” escrow agencies from the equation and connect existing property portals around the world.
Q: What advantage does your product offer in contrast to your competitors?
Unlike Bloqhouse, our service expands beyond the provision of tokenized assets. Our background has helped us create an all-in-one platform that is tailored to the real estate market. Cprop provides a transaction management system which connects existing portals to one another, thereby resolving a problem. However, this does not address all the issues the industry is facing. We believe a solution should be all encompassing and our platform aims to provide just that. We believe that Dominium is a “one-stop-shop” solution for all users, in all countries. It can be used to sign a rental contract across the world with the security of blockchain, and it can be used to finance a hundred million euro development. It is designed to be the “go to” technology for all things property.
Q: What makes your platform stand out?
Developed by a company with nearly 200 years of real world experience in the property market, and several hundred million euros of property assets under management, we are not an average start-up nor a conceptual crypto project. Dominium is based on a tried and tested business model involving the purchase of property assets. We have been researching blockchain technology since 2012 and have conducted financial modelling for the project. We self-funded the initial development of the platform and are proving our commitment by placing our own property assets on Dominium.
Q: Tell us about your team?
The Chairman of Dominium is Sven-Thomas Munte, owner and Managing Director of Munte Immobilien which was founded in 1833 and manages over 3000 rental apartments and 70 homeowner communities. Mark Lloyd is our Managing Director, he has a history of growing successful businesses with his partner Jackie Reeves White. He owns a property sourcing solution and is a coach and mentor at the property mastery academy in Great Britain. Marco Reimann is our Finance Director, he studied economics and real estate and worked as tax advisor and auditor. Esther Dekker is our property director, she has worked in real estate for over 10 years and as a member of the Dutch real estate professionals association she has an abundance of experience in the Dutch property market. Alongside them are 8 other team members with expertise in law, regulatory compliance, marketing and business development. Our community of 11 brand Ambassadors is also growing and becoming a worldwide representation of the company.
The front end and back end of the platform are being developed by Auxensis and the blockchain client is of course provided by Ardor, both of whom have many years of dedicated experience in their fields.
Interestingly, no-one has yet attempted to launch a global property platform such as ours, so we hope to have a first mover’s advantage. We are already making waves in the real estate market, with appearances on national television in the Netherlands and invitations for major speaking spots at conferences.
We are also fortunate enough to have started Dominium with the support of two existing real estate businesses and our own assets have sufficed in funding the early development of the platform.
Dominium will have immediate usability and that is a major factor in drawing in attention. We expect to see early adoption in the cryptocurrency sphere in particular as it is home to many advocates of new technology. By delivering results and showing the proof of concept to traditional real estate markets we will also capture those users.
Q: How many users do you have?
The Dominium platform currently has 20.000 users in 150 countries, but our target is to reach 50.000 users by the start of the Initial Token Offering, on the 3rd of September 2018.
Q: What is your focus for the next 6-12 months?
Our immediate focus is to launch the Ardor childchain and conduct a successful ITO. We will plug in to the testnet in Q4 of 2018 and work on perfecting the platform from there.
Q: How much money have you raised and from who?
We have conducted a successful seed round among the founders of Dominium, most of whom make up the Dominium team members.
Q: Are you looking to raise another round? If so how much?
Currently our whitelist is open for the Pre-ITO which is scheduled for the 3rd September 2018. The ITO will continue until all tokens are sold but judging by the rate of whitelist sign-ups, it will not be very long! At Pre-ITO stage, there is a maximum of 100.000.000 DOM for sale at €0.05 a token. A bonus token amount is available for buyers who order large amounts.
The ITO itself consists of 4 tiers starting at €0.10 each for the first 125.000.000 tokens and a final price of €0.25 in the last tier to the final amount of 500.000.000 tokens. More information is available in our official materials.
Q: Anything else that you would like to add?
Perhaps a little about the potential scope of this project:
Imagine that a person living in Germany would like to buy a house in Australia. In the current property market, that person would have to engage a lawyer, an estate agent and probably an accountant in order to be confident of the procedures in Australia, and in order to locate a suitable property. With Dominium, that person would merely have to log into the system and browse property assets in Australia. Having found a suitable property, with its accompanying regulatory documents, that person could then look at the property’s history. There might be information about past damage, previous rentals, problems with tenants or neighbours. The property price would be clear and any offers made on the system would be recorded on the blockchain. The contract could be signed via Dominium with all parties transparently communicating, effectively removing the need for an agent, lawyer or notary.
This scenario is a long way off in the future but, in theory, could be made possible by blockchain technology, and specifically the Dominium platform.
Segfaultsteve wrote a great review of Dominium on Nxter.org in which he further illustrates the benefits of using blockchain in real estate. https://www.nxter.org/a-review-of-dominium/
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