Editor's note: This story was originally featured in the March issue of MReport, out now.
Bitcoin has been all over the news this year, not only for its value that keeps fluctuating but also because many homebuyers and sellers are looking at cryptocurrency to strike housing deals. Combine this trend with blockchain and we are looking at a difference in the way the mortgage industry stores data and its security. How will these technologies change the industry as we know it today? David Mondrus is CEO of Trive and one of the earliest adopters of blockchain and cryptocurrency—he and his wife Joyce were the first couple to get married on the blockchain. A 20-year veteran of the NYC dot-com startup scene with a focus on eCommerce and social networks, previously Mondrus was CTO at Bigstar.com, employee No. 5 at Bigfoot.com and CEO of OneModelPlace.com. He has founded and participated in many bitcoin projects including Bitnation, iNation, ND Coin, BTC2MYSQL, and MiningSlicer.
M // You were one of the early adopters of blockchain. How has it evolved over the past few years and where do you see it going in future?
MONDRUS // We’ve been dealing with scalability issues in blockchain over the last few years, including issues like the bitcoin blockchain being full and controversy over resolving that issue and the introduction of bitcoin cash as a scalable solution for blockchain. Going forward, I think blockchain technology is just one of the technologies available for the security and permanent storage of data. There are other technologies like hollow chain, dags, and a few others, but they are still in the process of improving themselves. These are new technologies, and it will be interesting to see if they can stand up to hacks. If they can, there are interesting ways to resolve the issue of immutable storage without using blockchain, but using a blockchain-like technology instead.
M // As many homebuyers and sellers begin to use cryptocurrency to strike deals, bitcoin could face a spending problem. How can this be solved? Do you see crypto debit cards weighing in to make the process smoother?
MONDRUS // While crypto debit cards make the utility of cryptocurrency much easier for the user, they are not a viable alternative when it comes to buying real estate, especially when buying property involves moving a larger amount of cryptocurrency back and forth. Person-to-person or wallet-to-wallet transactions are much more viable in such cases. It is also important to understand that even if two parties plan to use crypto to buy and sell a house or property, they must still work with lawyers or mortgage providers because it is important that the information is recorded and documented in the right manner and that everything is legal and aboveboard. It is always good to remember that such transactions involve hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property, so correct documentation should precede everything else.
M // How do you see technology like cryptocurrency and blockchain streamlining processes for the mortgage industry?
MONDRUS // I believe blockchain will play a significant role in the mortgage industry going forward. Today, information about mortgages or real estate deeds are stored at the local county courthouse, but if utilized correctly this information can be easily stored on blockchain in the future. Today, these documents are stored as a piece of paper, but in the long run, when these are stored on blockchain, the work at county courthouses will become much easier as they would only need to point to the blockchain to make sure that the providence of the data is true and hasn’t changed. The way I see it, the next decade will see storage of real estate information on blockchain becoming a daily occurrence.
M // If you had to consider the future, what would the mortgage industry look like 10 years from now, when it comes to technology like cryptocurrency
MONDRUS // In the future, I see many more homebuyers and sellers using crypto as a mode of payment. As a result, a number of processes will change or grow up around the management of crypto, such as using it to pay off a mortgage debt. Today, it’s kind of annoying when your mortgage payments change dramatically from month to month; but in the long run, crypto could serve a function that’s similar to investment real estate as a stored value and place to put your money where it won’t be debased. In the future, we’ll find that a lot of processes that we take for granted in the mortgage industry today will be very quietly but very quickly replaced by blockchain technologies. The front end won’t change, the industry will still look and feel the same way, but in the backend, the storage will be more permanent.
M // Your company, Trive, works at killing fake news through crowdsourcing and cryptocurrency. Can you elaborate on how these two technologies are helping to strengthen news gathering and dissemination?
MONDRUS // The point of Trive is to resolve the issue of bias and high-cost in media due to lack of transparency. At Trive, we try to remove that problem for the media by using crowdsourcing
to gather news and research. In this way, we’re eliminating bias because people who are researching or writing the news aren’t paid for by the news agencies or aren’t on their rolls. As a result, the
amount of bias is smaller and their research more transparent, thereby considerably eliminating the chances of fake news. We use cryptocurrency at Trive to pay these people for their work as well
as to store data. The idea here is to make sure that the research done by a person, once it’s done, is stored on blockchain in as permanent a manner as possible.