Omar Kassim, the Dubai-based founder of online marketplace JadoPado, has launched another startup that aims to facilitate real estate transactions using blockchain technology.
Kassim—who recently sold JadoPado to Noon, the e-commerce platform headed by Emaar Chairman Mohamad Alabbar—has ventured into the world of real estate with the platform named Esanjo.com.
Esanjo is a real estate asset management business on Ethereum, which is an open-source platform that makes it possible to build and use applications that run on blockchain.
The entity is initially looking to build a real estate asset management business, which involves putting together portfolios of global real estate assets, Kassim told Reuters.
Ethereum lets developers design and issue their own ‘cryptocurrency’—which means they create a ‘tradeable digital token’, which is similar to a virtual share.
Kassim plans to use the technology to ‘tokenise’ each portfolio of assets on Esanjo.
A token will be backed by a share of a real estate asset to provide easy fractional ownership, liquidity and the ability to earn a share of the income generated by the underlying real estate asset, he said.
Some of Esanjo’s early portfolio ideas include real estate assets in global cities and emerging holiday markets, including properties held specifically for short term rental on platforms such as Airbnb.
The firm aims to start building out real estate tech, initially consisting of a real asset exchange that will allow investors to trade their real estate tokens, Kassim said.
Over the next few years, the firm aims to hit $1 billion of global real estate assets under management, he said.
While there are a number of ways to take exposure to real estate today, from buying assets outright to investing in fund managers or REITs (real estate investment trusts), there’s room for innovation, Kassim said.
Blockchain can be viewed as a shared database that records and tracks digital currency transactions. First conceived as a way to create, trade and track cryptocurrency Bitcoin, Blockchain has grown in prominence because it does not allow transaction records to be altered.
The term ‘blockchain’ refers to the series of linked transactions, which become a block and form a chain.
Cryptocurrencies—also referred to as digital or virtual currencies or tokens—exist solely online and are not backed by a government.
It has been only a short break for Kassim from the world of tech and entrepreneurship.
The acquisition reportedly was made to shore up gaps in Noon.com’s development, which has resulted in a six-month delay from the originally announced date.