A new property portal that will be controlled by the industry using blockchain technology is to launch in January after a prolonged period of preparation and testing with six agents.
OpenBricks claims to be a world first and hopes to sign up estate agents as many businesses within the industry baulk at the huge cost of using the main portals, but particularly Rightmove.
It is due to soft launch in the New Year and officially throw open its digital doors to agents at the end of January, charging £100 a branch.
The company’s senior management admits that agents may roll their eyes at news of another wannabe rival to Rightmove, Zoopla and OTM.
But they claim that OpenBricks is the first of its kind in the world because the ‘portal’ won’t have a central controlling entity or many staff and will exist on agents’ own servers as a ‘network’.
“The blockchain technology will prevent us from turning the screws and hiking up the fees; it will be the agents who decide that and not the board of OpenBricks. It’s your portal,” says Chief Operating Officer Adam Piggott (left).
Its senior team include figures with varied experience including at Premier division football clubs, banking and property funds, HM government and the property industry.
Piggott is a former lettings agent who founded a sizeable management portfolio in London before selling out to Countrywide in 2014. He went on to back online lettings agency MakeurMove and is also an investor in rent recognition platform CreditLadder.
“OnTheMarket was never the level playing field it promised from the outset, and it’s ended up being the same as Rightmove; agents can’t control their data or the price they’re being charged for its service,” he says.
Piggott claims the OpenBrix model differs because it uses blockchain for the first time ‘outside of finance, anywhere in the world’.
“Our de-centralised portal will be a big ‘spider’s web’ network linking agents together and enabling them to control how they share their listings rather than handing it over to a portal – because with OpenBricks there won’t be a central entity.
“Each agency will pay the same and be given one vote which they can use when being balloted on subjects such as marketing budgets, who gets discounts or membership fee increases or reductions.”
Piggott says agents will have access to unlimited uploads and that so far OpenBricks has 204 agents who are keen to get involved, and that he aims to have 2,000 signed up by the end of next year.
Listen to the full interview with Adam Piggott on the Properganda website.