A Dutch company has released an app that allows investors across the globe to access real estate investments, as Covid-19 continues to restrict close physical contact and travel, and increasingly forces people online instead.
Max Property Group (MPG), which owns property funds with millions of euros of assets under management in the Netherlands, the UK and Germany, recently launched version 2.0 of its real estate crowdfunding platform, Max Crowdfund, alongside the first version of its mobile applications for Android and iOs.
Max Crowdfund enables registered investors to access high-quality real estate investment opportunities in a matter of minutes, from any computer or mobile device, ‘with the security of AML procedures and blockchain technology’.
Mark Lloyd, chief executive of Max Crowdfund, said: “The Covid-19 virus has forced many business sectors online, and we hope the launch of our apps will help prevent investors from missing out on real estate opportunities.”
The Max Crowdfund platform, under development since 2017, uses blockchain technology provided by Ardor, a leading BaaS platform.
Max Crowdfund, which is already operational with 75,000 global users, is awaiting regulatory approval from the Dutch financial authorities, the AFM, which – if this happens - will make it the first regulated blockchain real estate crowdfunding platform in Europe.
As well as a ‘user-friendly design’, version 2.0 of the technology allows users to link their bank account to the crowdfunding platform, enabling investment in ‘high-quality real estate projects’ in a matter of minutes, from across the globe.
Erwin van Kekem, CTO of Max Crowdfund, commented: “The Max Crowdfund platform offers a unique combination of blockchain security, traditional bricks and mortar investing, and emerging crowdfunding methods. It is rare for a blockchain technology to be so closely associated with the financial and banking world, but it is precisely bridging that gap that is our mission with this project.”
Lloyd, who is based in the UK and has himself been an active property investor, entrepreneur and mentor for three decades, says there are regulatory restrictions that affect the use of the platform. Specifically, there are a number of rules that must be adhered to during the current phase of the project, although in future phases Max Crowdfund aims to acquire additional ‘regulatory licences and therefore a greater reach’.
At present, worldwide investment opportunities (including from the UK) will be able to apply to list their projects on the platform, subject to due diligence procedures. Currently, private European users are able to use the platform to make investments, while users outside of Europe (such as the UK) can use the platform to make investment if they show themselves to be qualified investors. In addition, companies are allowed to use the platform to invest irrespective of their location.
“We have already experienced changes in the property market during the lockdown period, where social distancing forced industry professionals to replace standard practices with technology,” Lloyd said.
“Property viewings have been conducted by video, contracts signed remotely, seminars have been transformed into webinars. The restrictions enforced by Covid-19 have shown us and others that technological solutions can effectively replace many of the time-consuming and antiquated practices in the property industry.”
He added: “I believe that in the future, more and more of the traditional practices in the property world will move online, making the use of applications and other technologies an essential part of the industry.”
He says those behind Max Crowdfund believe that the property industry is ripe for disruption, and Covid-19 has actually accelerated the process of that technological revolution.
“In the future, we foresee travel restrictions, social distancing and economic cutbacks; which will all fuel the transition towards technology over human contact in the property industry,” Lloyd continued.
“We launched the Max Crowdfund app in response to a long-awaited industry shift towards technology. Blockchain and crowdfunding are two of the fastest-growing tech sectors, both of which have the potential to accelerate the property industry by several decades. In the midst of a pandemic that has limited human contact, travel, and standard industry practices, it is more apparent than ever that technology is essential to the future of this global industry.”