With recent advances in peer-to-peer data distribution and blockchain technology, Rex will provide universal access to real estate information and streamline the transaction process.
As the author has been saying all week, when industries are disrupted, money is made, and whoever manages to disrupt the liquid asset world is going to be a long-and-short-term winner. However, whoever does that could turn out to be a large conglomerate of smaller efforts. Specialization did not emerge in our capitalist economies by mistake. Thus, we will continue to have a higher burden of proof for firms which claim they will disrupt the whole assets market, but pay particular attention to specialized efforts – like REX and Propy, who are essentially in very congruent markets. Propy’s drawbacks were as follows:
- Relying on governments and regulators to eventually choose Propy as the default platform. -3
- Cronyism creates impossible competition in various places, displacing Propy significantly enough to lower the token’s value. -0.5
- Unlikely to have real-world value in the short-term. -0.25
- HUGE AMOUNT OF TOKENS NOT ON MARKET IMMEDIATELY. -0.25
Rex takes a different approach to real estate disruption. Instead of betting on the lethargic hands of state actors, they want to decentralize the listings data racket, a racket which many of us in everyday life were previously unaware of. Rex outlines the cronyism in the following passage from the whitepaper, which is published on Github, meaning that its changes are publicly trackable via Git commitments.
Common complaints amongst users include a lack of price transparency, user experience, and dated information. The MLS’ limit the amount of data a “non subscriber” can view.
As whitepapers go, it’s actually good reading, so for best practices, the author encourages people to give it a look. Essentially what we’re talking about is building a Wikipedia-style platform which allows contributors to derive profit from their listing information instead of allowing a single entity to profit from such information that belongs to many other people.
Rex provides a new type of multiple listing service where data is universal and interoperable with other systems. The raw database is decentralized and owned by the listees. Value to the user beyond ownership and control is a reward system that compensates users in REX tokens for participating in the network.
Like all the best disruption efforts, Rex still allows the legacy actors a place to operate. They may even have a huge advantage on the new platform since they already have access to so much data. The reader may wonder who needs the data, and the answer is that real estate brokers use the data. We should clarify that we’re not talking about real estate agents. The difference is mainly a legal one: in some jurisdictions, an agent must be employed by a broker, and brokers must have college degrees and significantly more government certification. Rex intends act as a Wiki-style all-encompassing data hub for real estate brokers around the globe.
On Rex, the user owns the data and are compensated for their contributions: The more listings a user publishes, the more rewards they earn. The more listings on Rex, the more eyeballs. The more eyeballs the more demand for the REX token. Value is driven from listees and they are the beneficiaries. In addition, users can sell and exchange data, such as market studies, inspection reports and advertising space. Finally, a listees exposure will go from local to global. Rex is one large homogenous database that is not bound by countries or borders.
On a last note as the overview goes, Rex does eventually want to tokenize properties, but that’s not their primary goal, nor does their project fail if they cannot reach that goal, and they only intend it to be in the US and Australia. Their plans in this regard feel more solid and seem fully cognizant of the perils that await them in the halls of the regulators. They’re focusing on two jurisdictions, which increases the chances of succeeding at actually getting the thing greenlit by governments. Moreover, they are also inching in by focusing on lease transactions first, which have significantly less regulation than do sales.
This is to say that while RexDex at first will just be a free-to-read database of real estate listings, it could eventually perform the functions that Propy and others intend to perform.
The REX token is used to reward those who contribute listing data to the RexDex. Without any more information, it sounds like a no-go, since there’s nor revenue model up front:
Rex’s database will be free and accessible to anyone with a computer and internet connection. In order to be eligible for the listing reward, the user is required to register with Rex. The registration process includes the submission of a user’s name, contact details, firm (if applicable) and real estate license (if applicable). Once registered, the user can start submitting listings and be eligible for the reward. The listing will publish immediately with a 2-week time delay for the listing reward. During the 2-week time delay other users have the opportunity to flag the listing as spam. If the listing is flagged, both users will enter an arbitration period. The winner of the arbitration period will receive the listing reward. The user found gaming the listing rewards contract will lose their verification status and no longer be eligible for further rewards.
Here we see that the token will have some utility, but now we’re approaching a problem that many ICOs face: the token’s value appears dependent on people actually using the nascent product. Brokers would purchase the tokens to verify listings in the manner outlined above, so that they would be working with good data, and ultimately their data would be more verifiable than the competing players, but the whole thing would seem more promising if there were an access fee. We’re talking about professional data, and the market is already paying for this data, so why should we not continue to charge? There’s a lot of room to charge less, especially since the entire process will be automated and decentralized and crowdsourced, but charging nothing is probably a bad idea.
There is also the psychological concept of value in data. Wikipedia is perceived as less valuable information because it is crowdsourced, despite the many Ph.d’s and experts who contribute to its pages, and despite its dedicated community of fact-checkers and editors. Many professional organizations still do not allow citations from Wikipedia, and we can easily foresee various professional broker organizations, in concert with the MLSs they work with (for whatever reason, cronyism being chief), discouraging use of the “free data platform.”
So what we’re left with for a value proposition in the REX token is that it will be valuable to the people who use the platform, and later on it will be value when actual transactions begin to take place on the platform. That’s where the rubber will actually meet the road, and much like Propy, it will be a delicate situation because it relies on many unpredictable human participants.
Probably one of the things grinding the gears of this ICO is their complicated token purchase group scheme.
As you can see, only half the tokens are going up for sale to the public. This is problematic, as always, for obvious reasons of accountability.
Notably, in “Pool B,” we see that the listing reward scheme outlined above is paid for. Presumably the company will eventually have to buy tokens back from the market to keep the program going, but now at least we can see a workable future.
Pool C is a bit mysterious. We can’t let it pass: 5% to an “angel investor.” The angel investor is only noted once in the whitepaper. We’re going to guess it’s King himself or his father. We suppose the reader should be very aware of this reality: a 5% negative possibility exists at all times if a single, positioned person decides to move. This is still a better situation than you would have in some ICOs.
Yet, there is an additional 10% that’s in the wind, too:
Pool E consisting of 7% of the Total REX Token Supply. Pool E will be allocated to partners and/or advisors of the REX Project, as well as to participants of Bounty campaigns.
Pool F consisting 3% of the Total REX Token Supply. Pool F will be allocated to corporate affiliates.
They have a compensation pool for employees. Again, if employees were paid strictly in these tokens, or negotiated for the tokens, then the company would be forced to purchase more down the road. This implicit later demand is important.
We suppose the token distribution could be viewed as a way for them to have some runway to build the platform and get going, but they may be asking for a bit too much in this regard.
Principal and co-originator/founder Stephen King is the real deal, and he is not to be confused with the horror fiction writer from Maine. Stephen King of New Jersey’s “recent sales are in excess of twenty-five million dollars and include a CVS Pharmacy in Passaic, historic office building at Carnegie Center and a 40,000/SF building in Ewing.” In a 2015 profile about him by a local circular, writer Michele Alperin said of him:
Stephen, one of King’s six children and the only one to follow in his father’s professional footsteps, learned the ropes of commercial sales from Bill Barish at Commercial Property Network. Now on board with his dad, one of Stephen’s first successes was brokering the sale of the Stone House, which sits close to Route 1 just south of the Hyatt Regency on the first 79 acres that his father acquired to develop Carnegie Center.
Other co-founder Russell McLernon is a “technology strategist” (which is probably a real thing in big companies) who claims there is “no software development or integration challenge he can’t handle.” This is good, since there will be plenty of challenges in securely swapping properties across oceans. McLernon will apparently be in charge of gathering the technical staff necessary, which is a chore on its own, especially regarding security.
In keeping with their gradual approach to the ordeal, the pair have yet to hire anyone officially to work on the project. This is not viewed as a drawback, but it could turn into a setback when it comes time to execute.
Better than Propy, better than LAT, maybe not the Highlander of real estate ICOs. Much remains to be seen in terms of how valuable the proposed database will be. Building a better mousetrap instead of trying to exterminate the world’s mice (the Propy approach – government integration) is definitely a better strategy. Overall, positive on REX, but funding so far has not been thrilling, thus it may have to find more funding later if they decide to proceed.
- The cronyists this will disrupt have all the levers currently, and could negatively campaign against its usage, crippling adoption for a long time. This can be seen as an act of God, in a sense, since there is no way to know how many MLSs will simply decide to use the database instead of fight it. -0.5
- Failing to charge for access to the data in the same way that current MLS designs do is only acceptable if you’re sure you’re going to be able to build the tokenization of real assets, the “phase 3” of your mission. We’re not prepared to say we’re sure, so instead we deduct another 3 points on these grounds. The token must generate money or it is just a token of appreciation.
- Excellent credentials in the founding parties. Well-connected, financed, prepared for success, and unlikely to burn out. It’s not often we see someone in ICO teams who doesn’t need to be there – someone who could just rest on their laurels and wealth. When we do see this, we take note, because such people are much more motivated by their mission than they are by the desire for more wealth, by comparison at least, from a high level view. +3.75
- The strategic and building approach to creating this product is important. We often see that ICOs seem to assume the world is just going to conform to their desires. In Rex we see that they are aware it will take a lot of doing to operate legally, it’s not something you can write off with a single sentence such as “liability is on the token offerer.” +3
- Building a better mousetrap (see summary above). +2
The author believes this one can win in the long-game. The reader is welcome to run down any doubts they may have, but we feel that even if this project fails to fund completely, it will build up to something very worth your money. We come to a 5.25 numerical rating.
Everyone has another 4 days to review this ICO and make a decision on it. The author would like to educate himself a bit more on the real estate broker world before personally pulling the trigger, but those with more education on the subject are encouraged to offer insights in the comments section. The token address is listed in the Github whitepaper:
Keep note of this. Cybersecurity bad guys are more clever than ever.
More information is available at http://rexmls.com/tokensale.html.