Utilizing Crypto In Real Estate Investments – Interview with Epoch BTC Co-Founders
Just the other day, an innovative company by the name of Epoch BTC, a leading property investment consultancy that specializes in assisting clients securely convert their cryptocurrency into real estate investments in Dubai, integrated Changelly widget capabilities on their interface. Helping to facilitate an abundance of diverse crypto holders to effectively swap crypto to purchase property via their platform. To find out more details on this exciting project, Changelly’s CEO, Eric Benz asked a few questions to Co-Founders Quinten Swartberg and Francesco Morabito at Epoch BTC regarding the project’s current state, further development, and the real estate industry when considering crypto as a way to purchase property presently, and for the future. Enjoy the read!
Hey guys, super great to have you taking part in Crypto talks with Changelly! Can you please decrypt the concept of Epoch BTC briefly? And effectively your service offering?
Hey Eric, thanks for having us on today, we’re excited to be here! Sure, so in a nutshell, Epoch BTC is a property consultancy that enables clients to purchase real estate in Dubai using cryptocurrency.
All our services are essentially the same as what you would expect from a regular real estate company but with the added benefit and ability for our clients to use a different medium of payment.
As the founders of the project, would you give us a bit of information on both of your backgrounds and how that led towards putting together such a project?
Sure, I’m personally from a financial background, graduating with a Masters in Finance in London then moving into the banking sector in Dubai in 2013. After some years I moved on to a global SaaS company that focused on media intelligence, I worked there as an MD and stayed in the company for 4 years before starting Epoch BTC.
Prior to Epoch BTC, I worked in the financial services and real estate industry in London and Dubai for 12 years. However, I was always intrigued by cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies, investing myself in bitcoin back in 2011. Today we have far greater adoption and investors but limited use-cases for crypto being used as a valid currency. This is essentially what led us to Epoch BTC and to creating an end-to-end solution for transacting real estate with cryptocurrency.
So Epoch isn’t really a new concept, given that services like yours can be found across the globe, but this concept of introducing Cryptocurrency as a method to purchasing property is. Why choose Dubai as your audience & base for this project?
We decided to start in Dubai for several reasons. First of all, we’ve both been in the region for a long time, so we have a lot of market knowledge and a vast network that allowed us to get off to a good start.
Secondly, UAE is known as one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and they have been implementing and researching blockchain technology and its transactional efficiency for years, so it felt like a good fit for our concept.
And lastly, from a purely real estate investment point of view, Dubai is currently a very attractive and affordable market, and with the Expo 2020 around the corner, there is a lot of positive sentiment in the region at the moment.
What kind of KYC verification would you need from seekers interested in purchasing property via crypto?
The KYC verification is straightforward, clients need to provide proof of their identity and address.
Which cryptocurrency can be used to purchase a property via your platform? And are there any thoughts of opening up the gates to accepting multiple other forms of crypto?
We currently accept BTC, BCH, BSV and ETH. We don’t really have any plans to open up to other types of crypto at the moment, but with the new partnership with you guys, there is also no immediate need as our clients can now easily convert with Changelly if they hold other cryptocurrencies.
What type of properties do you currently have in your portfolio that would accept crypto as a form of payment?
We have over 400 units currently available in Dubai that accept cryptocurrency. These are all high quality newly-developed properties in the most sough-after areas. Anybody that wants to have a look at some of our properties, please get in touch with us.
In your opinion, what factors and elements would strengthen the crypto real estate industry, both in the UAE and across the world?
We’re still in the early stages of adoption for the real estate industry but we are already seeing very positive signs of initiatives led by the UAE government to move towards an improved and more efficient way to transact.
The introduction of smart contracts by real estate blockchains is what could change the face of the entire industry and it’s something that several governments have already started working on. This would improve liquidity, drastically speed up processes (something that’s very important because of the volatility of crypto), it would also cut out intermediaries and make it cheaper for both the buyer and the seller.
On your site, it shows that you are fully regulated by licensed Swiss financial intermediaries. Why choose Swiss laws over others within Europe and the world?
That’s a good question. Based on our research, we found that in Switzerland, the general attitude of the government towards cryptocurrencies, is very positive. In fact, it’s actually one of the only countries where both the federal government and the financial market authority have officially recognized the potential that blockchain and cryptocurrencies offers to the financial industry and other areas of the economy. So we saw an opportunity to work in a regulated market where officials and authorities are generally open to these new concepts and will continue to invest and take global lead in this sector.
What advice would you give other real estate brokers and consultancy services out there regarding the adoption of a crypto-based system of exchange over FIAT?
My advice would be to be open to this new technology and take the first mover advantage on this in your market, as it is no longer a question of whether or not cryptocurrency will change the face of the real estate industry or any other transactional industry for that matter, but rather when.
Given your project feeding into crypto mass adoption, do you believe that cryptocurrencies can become mass adopted without massive demand for miners and investors?
Yes, we do believe crypto can become mass adopted. Cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain network, in particular, are relatively new technologies most people are still trying to wrap their heads around. Nonetheless, there appears to be a considerable amount of momentum supporting the development of cryptocurrencies. The real-world applications appear almost limitless, and all different types of industries looks as if they could benefit from the technology.
If speculation is remotely close, many sectors could be in the midst of significant disruption. From shortening transactions to simplifying processes, to increasing trust and security, cryptocurrency has the chance to make a meaningful impact and it will happen sooner rather than later.
If you had to choose the next place Epoch BTC will open up shop where would you choose, and why?
We currently have our eyes on two places – Japan and Singapore.
Japan because it’s a country that’s always been at the forefront of crypto adoption. They have several retails stores that currently accept cryptocurrency and it is among the largest of all Bitcoin traders, about 30% of all Bitcoin trading is done in Yen! So there is a good opportunity for us there.
Singapore is interesting because it has an attractive real estate market and it also home to the third-largest ICO market. Their financial authority has also been encouraging the adoption of blockchain technology for several years now. In fact, insurance companies in Singapore are already using smart contracts.
Any other subjects you’d like to share with the community?
Yes sure, on a final thought, cryptocurrency remains a volatile asset, due largely to its slow adoption rate, but that is changing and there is no doubt that it will be part of our everyday life very soon. Until then, real estate remains a promising asset. The benefits of a properly performing real estate asset are hard to beat. Real estate has not only proven that it belongs in an investor’s portfolio, but it has already demonstrated that it’s capable of awarding investors with a reliable source of income.
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