Recently, we spoke with Lloyd Huang, Co-founder of SmartRE.
Lloyd and his company have been leading the change when it comes to blockchain within the property industry. We’ve been watching his success grow ever since we first reported on Lloyd’s efforts here.
Keep reading below to find out what SmartRe is and what Lloyd hopes to achieve in the next few years.
Q: Tell us about yourself
A: I’m Lloyd Huang, the co-founder of SmartRE, the two-sided marketplace for fractional real estate. My academic background is in electrical engineering, with work experiences in strategy consulting, business development, marketing, corporate development, startups, engineering, and product development.
A: This is the third startup with which I have been involved, with the first during the dot-com era in the local search space; and the second based in Silicon Valley and China, in the semiconductor space. The second startup, SMIC, went public on the NYSE at a market capitalization of over USD 8 billion.
Q: What led you to leave your past role and industry to begin developing blockchain based solutions for the property industry?
A: We have a strong belief that the blockchain can really make a huge difference in the world. There is a lot of hype currently, as with any new technology, but it will settle down, and the real, practical applications will start to come out. 2018 should be the year that real-world applications touch peoples lives, most likely indirectly, come out.
A: The blockchain is a great construct, but it does need some molding, as the first generation methods for consensus is too overbearing to be practical. As is the belief that as long as you have the blockchain, the world will be better. Along with pretty much everything, it takes a lot of thought and engineering to make the blockchain work in real cases, especially when dealing with very high-value products/services.
Q: What role will blockchain platforms such as SmartRE play in the future of the property and property transactions?
A: The real estate world is pretty conservative, there will be nibbles here and there before there will be major shifts. Even looking at e-commerce, Amazon took it slow and steady by first selling books, then CDs, then everything else. The industry and the general population will dip their toes in the pool before jumping in.
A: It is also a performance issue, whereby users may not really understand or care, that the blockchain is working in the background, as long as the application works. Real estate is such a huge space that it will take a long time for the blockchain to maneuver into it to make it as efficient as it should be. Look at all the big asset classes that are still lagging behind in simple Internet functionality.
Q: What are the biggest obstacles SmartRE faced when trying to break into the industry and gain trust?
A: Gaining trust for any startup is key. While we truly believe in the power of the blockchain, by itself, it is not enough. As the old adage states: garbage in, garbage out. The immutability of the blockchain means any garbage that is recorded will be there forever. We try to placate users’ concerns by having a customized insurance policy for the users. The insurance industry is one of the most conservative industries in the world, and for them to provide a policy for which we designed, it is a testament to the peace of mind we want to give to our users.
Q: What do you think will happen in the next 5 years with blockchain and SmartRE
A: We believe SmartRE will help people understand the ability to tap their homes without going into debt. It’s something that has never been done, in that homeowners get liquidity and have no need to repay it, with no interest rate sensitivity. On the other side, people can get into the largest, safest market in the world at a low threshold.
A: The blockchain, we believe, will become more and more in the background. Just like e-commerce became an accepted standard for everyone. The technology will permeate everywhere and will no longer be hyped.
Q: Can you imagine the blockchain failing to become widely used? If so, how would that happen?
A: The blockchain space is too siloed, in that there are newer and newer chains being developed. There has to be interoperability between them so whatever is developed today will be usable in ten years, especially if a new innovative chain is developed in five years. There has to be a standard for creating, storing, and communicating between the chains.
Q: What is the biggest mistake a company can make regarding its blockchain strategy?
A: In a sense, to be too committed to one blockchain. It may be important to make all the writes and records as “agnostic” as possible. It is inevitable that blockchains will evolve and no one wants to be locked in without an escape plan, or else the engineering resources will become too great.
Q: If SmartRE belonged to someone other than yourself, what would you be doing?
A: Most likely I would be in the AI space, as I had a bit of experience with that in my previous position and there are exciting developments there as well.
Q: Lastly, just for fun do you have any cryptocurrency yourself?
A: I own, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, BitHub, Ethereum, Ripple, Waves and, of course, SREs.
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