The Bartlett Real Estate Institute


DeFi for Real Estate: The Mechanics of Decentralised Trust

17 March 2021, 3:00 pm–5:00 pm

Flume in Switzerland

Virtual roundtable by UCL BREI exploring possibilities for institutional development, investment and operation of assets.

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Ruby Soor

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A recording of the event is available to watch online.

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In August 2018 in a Telegram chat between Ethereum developers and entrepreneurs the term “DeFi” was coined for the first time referring to Decentralized Finance. Less than two years later, the term became widely popular due to the exponential growth of the sector.

First there was the internet (Web1). Then the ability to form distributed groups exchanging data emerged (Web2) which resulted in the growth of social media with Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. DeFi allows distributed groups now to exchange value, for example Aave – where groups can come together to form lending pools which can then transact without a trusted third party. These new technologies are now known as Web3.

Thanks to Blockchain technology DeFi brings today the opportunity to unlock liquidity while enhancing security and transparency, disrupting the traditional financial model; which is plenty of frictions, centralization, and what is more, already left aside 33% of the adult population of the World unbanked. Nowadays, the different tokens, protocols, DEX's can be combined in different imaginative ways and solve different financial situations or create new concepts.

The amalgamation of DeFi tools is infinite, and the exponential growth of DeFi ecosystems without trusted third-parties creates transparency and encourages price and market efficiency. Giving control of assets to users has the potential to disrupt the global Real Estate model as well, which is the second largest global market behind Financial Services.

London is the engine room for growth and development of frontier technologies. Two major players, FIBREE (The Foundation for International Blockchain for Real Estate Expertise) and the ‘DigitalDisruption’ consortium at the Bartlett Faculty of Built Environment, UCL have joined together to bring a stellar panel of experts in DeFi and Real Estate for a roundtable discussion which will explore the complexities and possibilities for institutional development, investment and operation of assets.

This panel will explain what the technology can do with speakers from KR1, the leading London investor in this sector, Polkadot, Aave and Robonomics. It will then consider how the RealEstate sector can use these technologies with speakers from Greystar, Team Blockchain and Blockchain.com. Finally CMS and others will consider the legal and regulatory issues that arise.

DigitalDisruption are working on ‘The Coolhouse project’ which is looking at how the Polkadot protocol can be used to create ‘parachains’ which will allow individual owners, investors and managers of real estate assets to build their own blockchain communities.


The Tech

Irina Karagyaur (FIBREE Chair) - Head Ambassador Western Europe at Polkadot & Kusama Networks, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Marhaba DeFi

George McDonaugh - MD and Co Founder KR1

Yakub Sheikh - CMO Robonomics Network

Sergei Lonshakov - Blockchain + IoT projects developer, Robonomics network architect

The Market

Thomas Wünsche - Senior Director, Greystar, Investment Management, Head of Germany and Austria

Nic Cary - Co Founder and President Blockchain.com

Jonny Fry - CEO TeamBlockchain

Regulatory issues

Ajit Tripathi - Head of Institutional Business at Aave

Charles Kerrigan and Aurelia Viemont from our Legal Partners CMS who have supported this event.

Moderator: Jeremy Barnett (FIBREE Chair) Honorary Professor at the Bartlett, UCL, Founder Resilience Partners Ltd