Two companies have developed a blockchain-based solution to address the large number of vacant homes in the Japanese countryside.

Securitize, a compliance platform for token issuers, has joined forces with Tokyo-based LIFULL to create a funding platform using digital securities to invest in real estate. According to a March 10 press release, the collaboration has been successful in proving that blockchain technology and digital securities are more effective crowdfunding for the Japanese real estate market than traditional methods. 

LIFULL Social Funding, in collaboration with BUIDL, a subsidiary of Securitize, will be using the new platform to revitalize many homes in Japan that have fallen into disuse or been abandoned entirely. CEO and co-founder of Securitize Carlos Domingo gave his thoughts on the project and what it means for Japan:

“Our collaborative success in creating a comprehensive platform solution for crowdfunded real estate funds is very exciting, and it is a great start for Securitize and LIFULL as we work to modernize the Japanese real estate market together.”

Why the real estate market in Japan needs a boost

The move by Securitize is intended to provide a means for investors to crowdfund real estate in less desirable locations of Japan. LIFULL explained the issues behind this investment in their own statement:

"To address vacant houses nationwide, it is necessary to actively promote renovation and conversion of these homes for other uses to maintain and improve the value of the real estate. That’s a difficult problem. Regional revitalization of real estate crowdfunding is being promoted as a solution to this problem.”

The eight million abandoned, or “ghost” homes in Japan are the result of a massive urbanization trend in the Asian nation intensifying since the bubble burst in the late 80’s. Prior to that, the Japanese real estate market had grown almost exponentially. 

Many jobs are available only in major cities in Japan, and families are being forced out of the countryside as schools close from low attendance. As a result, their properties are seen as so undesirable many are simply given away to any interested party.