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Rotterdam Real Estate Transactions to Trial Blockchain

The Dutch city of Rotterdam has become one of the first to trial blockchain technology in recording and tracking lease contracts, in a move that could be rolled out countrywide and further afield if it proves successful.

With the help of professional services giant Deloitte in the Netherlands, the city has teamed up with the U.S.-based Cambridge Innovation Center to develop the project, which could improve the efficiency of managing domestic lease agreements.

The announcement of the trial marks the latest attempt to combine distributed ledger technology with the real estate and property industry, which analysts have suggested could be one of many effective applications for the blockchain in practice.

The process will begin with the creation of a platform for managing and recording lease agreements, before shifting the focus to a mechanism for payment over the blockchain infrastructure. It is hoped that the project could result in more efficient property transactions, and more secure, cost-effective payment of lease terms.

"The next step will be monitoring the rental payments,” said Jan-Willem Santing, of Deloitte’s Dutch office. “By implementing additional blockchain applications in the real estate industry, transaction times and costs can be reduced further. Furthermore, it enables decision-makers to use data analysis for making future investment decisions on selling, buying and constructing real estate."

The city of Rotterdam project is the latest in a series of major initiatives from the public sector, as organizations and companies across different industry sectors work together to identify new practical applications for the blockchain.

Alongside other city authorities, national regulators, governments and central banks, the project marks yet another step in the developmental journey of blockchain technology, on its way to providing a secure network infrastructure for transactional information.

Within the Netherlands itself, the move is part of a number of steps being taken to modernize systems in line with improving technologies, from central government down to the municipal level. It remains to be seen whether the new Rotterdam trial could play a bigger role countrywide in shaping central transactions.