Japanese trading house Sumitomo is teaming up with bitFlyer Blockchain to jointly develop a blockchain-based housing rental contract platform equipped with smart contract functionality.
In May, bitFlyer Holdings, the operator of Japanese cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer, established a new wholly-owned blockchain-focused subsidiary.
Currently, the housing rental contract process is quite convoluted and often requires face-to-face communication between various stakeholders – lessee, management company, intermediaries, etc. – along with a process of closing a contract via fax and mail.
Sumitomo and bitFlyer Blockchain aims to address these point points by performing part of the work related to the housing rental contract using blockchain technology. They plan to develop a blockchain application that can be used by the various parties involved in a housing rental contract.
“By digitizing the contract, the contracting party…can confirm the process from the property application to the contract conclusion in a timely manner, and reduce the time and cost of binding, mailing, and signing of the contract,” the press release reads.
The companies believe that blockchain technology will help streamline the office work related to the safe storage and management of contracts. They plan to complete the development and verification of the prototype in the latter half of 2019 and move to provide services to general users.
Going forward, Sumitomo and bitFlyer Blockchain intend to incorporate more technologies in addition to blockchain, in order to allow users to perform various functions from one app, including viewing reservation, contract, move-in, payment of various expenses, contract renewal and withdrawal procedure, and more.
The companies also aim to expand the project beyond housing leases to other industries that are closely related to real estate contracts such as guarantors and insurance companies.
[The article has been written using an online translation of the press release.]