At REX, our mission is to connect vendors, buyers, sellers and agents over a decentralized network that rewards contributors for their participation, to incentivize the creation of a new global real estate listings database that is open and accessible by all. We plan to tear down the walls of one of the most fragmented and slow to evolve industries there is, paving the way to a world where cheaper, more efficient real estate transactions are possible. To do so, we are developing an open multiple listing service and transaction platform built on Ethereum.
In the United States, real estate is a 41 trillion dollar industry. Globally, it’s estimated to tally in around 217 trillion. Real estate has traditionally been a local business. However, the world is quickly globalizing. Citizens in developing countries are migrating to cities at an astounding rate. Technology is providing a new subset of jobs to these migrants increasing their overall economic standing. China alone will have 76% of their population considered middle class by 2022. India will expand their middle class from 127 million in 2017 to 567 million by 2025. The combination of wealth, transportation, and remote accessibility in the workplace will redefine where and how people purchase real estate. In order to cater to global demand, there needs to be a universal standard for data. One database (or IDX like environment) where people can access real estate information in any market in the world.
It’s estimated that up to 92% of real estate buyers search for property through a digital multiple listing service. Today, there are 1,000’s of online MLS’ in the United States and tens of thousands globally, most with high fees and virtually zero interoperability. Users are left with two options:
- Subscribe to various local platforms and pay an average monthly fee of $250.00/month (if they allow non-broker access.
- Hire an agent that is subscribed to one of these systems.
This proves inefficient and inconvenient for the buyer, seller, agent, and firm.
First, let’s take a step back, focusing on how we got here:
Before the internet, data was distributed from the content provider (the few) to the consumer (the many). In the early 1990’s, the internet debuted with the potential to decentralize content distribution. Although HTTP provided global benefits in communication, the economic gains we’re mostly asymmetrical. We (the user) provide the value, albeit a social media post or real estate listing but the gatekeepers are the financial beneficiaries.
The MLS is a superb example of these asymmetric benefits. They are comprised of prodigious databases that silo information and dictate price back to the content provider (listee).
As an example, brokers, agents, and firms pay approximately $35/per listing — $1,000/per listing on digital MLS’. Their data is then pushed to third party platforms where leads are sold to the highest bidder. In addition, time delays and poor communication channels add to cost, with the medium closing time taking 60–90 days. It is estimated the average home buyer in the US spends 3–5% ($5,000-$10,000) on closing costs. Commercial transactions are sometimes double and triple that. This combination of superfluous intermediaries and dated technologies has resulted in a broken system.
The centralized distribution model has proved a phenomenal business to the server owners, leaving the user little choice but to pay or secede from the system. Companies have sprouted worldwide to combat these issues but ostensibly fail due to the circuitous cycle of the business model and technology utilized.
REX believes data dissemination is at an inflection point, with Ethereum and IPFS redefining digital distribution.
Stephen and Russ, the founders of REX, met in November 2015 discussing how they could make the real estate transaction and data distribution process more efficient. In January 2016, REX was born. Since then, we built a PoC through bootstrapping development, then raising a seed round from a superb angel, to traveling the world and educating the real estate industry about REX and Ethereum, to today; a pre-alpha platform we expect to take live in January 2018.
Building on Ethereum and IPFS, REX is providing a tool that redistributes real estate data back into the hands of the originators. In order to create global connectivity and efficient transaction systems, REX has four distinct phases of development
1. Build and Scale the Global MLS
2. Filtration & MLS Curation Implementation (machine learning/crowdsourcing data)
3. Introduce Transaction Layer
4. Tokenized Ownership
First, to scale and incentivize global participation, REX distributes listing rewards in the form of REX tokens. The listing rewards are distributed to verified users for each listing they upload to the database. The REX token can be utilized to access specific features on the platform (market sponsorships, listing promotions, data exchange) or they can be transferred to an external exchange and sold for other cryptographic tokens.
Second, REX tokens are utilized for spam (what we call the Listing Spam Reducer — LSR): Each listee is required to post “x” REX ($.10-$.20 cents worth) per listing to reduce data dumps on the platform. If the listee is not submitting spam, they will receive the Listing Reward offsetting the LSR fee.
Third, REX tokens are used for data exchange and advertising: Users can trade data (custom market reports, inspections, property history) or offer third party advertising using the REX token as the medium of exchange. Since the user owns their listing page and data, they can monetize as they see fit.
Fourth, REX tokens handle payments on Curation Feeds: Users have the ability to create custom curation feeds (spam/comparable property) from REX’s raw database and accrue a following. If the user gains a large enough following, they can monetize their feed through promotion and advertising. REX crowdsources local information and the contributors are rewarded. The REX token acts as a medium of exchange between users.
By default, when a user signs up for REX they are subscribed to REX’s spam feed. Local users may feel they can do a better job weeding out spam listings in their city or geographic region. Therefore, they can create a custom spam or comparable property feed. Now users have the choice to select a custom feed or REX’s default for their region. As the creators of the independent feed gain a following, they can monetize the feed by offering their followers listing promotions and advertising.
Fifth, the REX token is utilized to create broker profiles and market sponsorships. Users pay REX tokens to establish professional broker profiles that are searchable in the database and to sponsor markets around the world (ie New York City). REX tokens that are collected through Broker Profiles/Market Sponsorships will be redistributed into the Listing Rewards Contract.
In years 1–3, REX will redistribute 100% of the fees collected to scaling programs such as resupplying the Listing Rewards Contract and expanding global bounty programs.
At launch (early 2018), REX will focus on the US, Australia, and China. However, we will quickly open up most major markets around the world through REX’s Global Ambassadorship Program.
REX mapped our two core user types, both of which have different pain points in the current MLS structure:
1. Individual (broker, mom & pop buyer & seller, investor)
The individual is impeded by cost and listing exposure while the firm struggles with data interoperability and transaction efficiency.
For the individual on REX, cost decreases from an average $35/listing to $0.10 — $0.20/per listing. The individual is also fully in control of their data and leads.
For the firm, REX is providing an individual and customized experience. In essence, each firm has their own unique MLS that all pull from the same data pool. We achieve this by providing hardware pre-installed with a REX/IPFS/Ethereum node. This provides the ability for the firm to download any market in the world resulting in low latency and expanded accessibility. Firms can customize the interface with their unique branding. It’s somewhat analogous to providing each firm an “MLS intranet” with unlimited access to the internet.
The REX platform leverages leading p2p technologies like Ethereum, IPFS, ElasticSearch and pulls them all together with our own open source components written in Nodejs and Go. The core application is the RexIndexer which takes data from Ethereum and IPFS and creates a local database that is synchronized to a single global state. We also have two user interfaces, one open source, and one proprietary.
We hope the community can contribute and build upon the open source UI and add many great new features over time.
Outreach & Scaling
Russell & Stephen
REX recently attended RECon in Las Vegas and AREC in Australia. The response from the real estate community was humbling. The team has been focused on educating the industry on the technology fueling REX and the benefits they’ll bring to the user.
Over the next month, REX is focused on the release of our July 10 pre-alpha and July 31st token sale. We will release a follow-up post in mid-July with token sale terms and details. Subsequent to the token sale we will expand the team and hire REX Global Ambassadors. REX Global Ambassadors will receive REX bounties for marketing, educating and signing up users in their local geographic markets.
Following the launch of the token sale, we’ll be attending and be presenting at Inman Connect San Francisco August 7–11. If you’re in the bay area and would like to connect please reach out to one of our communication mediums listed below.
Throughout the fall REX will utilize the resources obtained from our July 31st token sale and expand the REX alpha and beta while continuing to assemble strategic partnerships.
REX would like to include anyone and everyone who believes in the mission of decentralizing real estate data so the industry at large can become more efficient. The team looks forward to a collaborative effort in revolutionizing the way real estate is transacted around the world.
Stephen King, Co-founder & CEO: Stephen is an entrepreneur with a focus in real estate and blockchain technology. In 2009, Stephen graduated from the University of Denver with a dual degree in real estate and international business. Subsequent to University, Stephen worked in real estate finance, construction management, and mixed-use development. Since 2013, Stephen has led King Realty Group in Princeton, New Jersey and participated in tens of millions in real estate transactions. Simultaneously to building King Realty, Stephen capitalized on his passion for technology, participating in the creation and design of several real estate-related technology startups. Stephen is also the founder of Princeton Ethereum Meetup.
Russell McLernon, Co-founder & CTO: Russell has been involved in Bitcoin and blockchain technology since 2010. He created one of the first online stores for selling goods in exchange for Bitcoin while also participating in the development of early libraries and testings of the reference client. Russell then started learning about Ripple and built one of the first mobile wallets. Subsequent to Ripple, Russell took an interest in NXT. Russell was one of the first to develop a user-friendly interface for building custom applications on NXT including a decentralized DNS and a vehicle listing service with its own private token on the NXT blockchain. While working on NXT Russell came across Ethereum and became fascinated with the technology and team. Russell quickly shifted focus to Ethereum and began developing projects based on Ethereum’s smart contracts design.
Before blockchain, Russell spent 15 years developing software for enterprise in and around Sydney, including websites, native applications, back-end services, big data and business intelligence.
Check out our Youtube channel where you can find our newest videos including our brand new REX TV video series with REX’s very own Lauren Glasses. She will be interviewing brokers, lenders, developers, and technologists on real estate, Ethereum and all things REX! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtQzGq6q4c
This Article First Appeared On REX Blog.