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Blockchain-powered real estate platform launched in Philippines

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By Bjorn Biel M. Beltran, Special Features Writer

REAL ESTATE investors rejoice. Property solutions provider Qwikwire is seeking to simplify and streamline how cross-border property transactions work by launching AQWIRE, a blockchain-powered listing platform for real estate.

In a press conference on June 26, Qwikwire announced it inked a deal with Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), one of the country’s biggest crypto companies, to “build the first real estate platform through blockchain in Asia.”

As a payment gateway, AQWIRE will have the capability to list units from different developers worldwide, process payments through different conventional channels such as credit/debit cards, international bank transfers and SWIFT, as well as give out different analytical data to help potential buyers with their decisions.

“We want to become the leading cross-border payments in Southeast Asia, not just for real estate but for everything,” Ray Edison Refundo, Qwikwire founder and chief executive officer, told reporters.

Mr. Refundo said his company plans to eventually become a payment gateway for transactions like tuition, hospital and bills payments. But for now, the plan is to entrench itself in the Philippines as a real estate payment platform and expand globally as AQWIRE gathers steam.

“AQWIRE will be our ticket to become a global company,” he added.

AQWIRE seeks to provide Philippine brokers and property developers an easier way to sell properties to foreign buyers by eliminating roadblocks, such as the inefficient property search process due to fragmentation of data, lack of trust among entities, as well as the lack of a standard protocol for international real estate transactions. The platform does this by fully utilizing smart contract technology to process cross-border transactions.

Simplifying the buying process also lowers the cost of property for foreign buyers.

Mr. Refundo noted the company has seen interest from real estate buyers from the United States, the Middle East, Japan and South Korea, among others.

Currently, the platform lists residential units from three undisclosed developers in the Philippines.

Through the deal with SCI, AQWIRE aims to develop its capability to accept cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Litecoin as payments in transactions involving real estate.

“With various countries adopting the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment options, coupled with the increase need in real estate space, whether residential or commercial, accepting payments in cryptos is a smart decision,” SCI said in a statement.

“This partnership will enable AQWIRE to process real estate payments in crypto, adding to its already robust payment processing capabilities. Giving potential real estate buyers and investors more options and significantly making the entire payment process more efficient and convenient.”

Currently at the fund-raising stage, AQWIRE is holding a sale of its QEY token, with the goal of raising $9.9 million for the development of the platform.

The company is also wooing local and international real estate developers to the platform. By the fourth quarter of 2018, AQWIRE expects to list property from developers in Thailand.