With electronic signaturethe authentication system and electronic authentic documents, digital tools have been used by notaries for more than 20 years. Now the metaverse is knocking on their door and everything suggests that notaries will be able to take advantage of this new opportunity.
Notary and real estate transactions
the notaryas a public official, is a key player in any real estate transaction. He plays the role of consultant and accompanies the buyer and the seller in the realization of their project, ensuring that their respective interests are respected.
Indeed, the purchase of real estate in our real world it requires the establishment of an authentic deed signed in the presence of the notary who can then deliver the buyer a certificate of ownership; the latter will receive the title deed only after its publication in the cadastral service, that is, several months after the operation.
Real estate transactions in the metaverse
The metaverse offers users the possibility to walk through virtual cities accessible through specialized platforms, such as Sandbox, Decentraland or even Roblox and to acquire building plots, villas, shares of already built buildings… with the aim of make capital gains when they are resold.
Settlement of transactions
Transactions can only be made using cryptocurrencies. If all banking institutions do not allow the purchase of these digital currencies, some of them have been allowing this type of transaction ever since accounts dedicated to professionals or even personal accounts.
The right of ownership
The purchase of real estate on specialized metaverse platforms gives rise to the conclusion of a contract, but without the intervention of the notary. The notion of ownership is therefore not the same as in the real world, because French law does not yet recognize virtual ownership.
Properties in the Metaverse takes the form of NFTs. The NFT (non-fungible token) is a unique non-fungible digital token, unlike cryptocurrencies which are tradable currencies, therefore fungible. The NFT is therefore the certificate of authenticity of the property, which allows its owner to provide proof of his purchase.
It is stored on a blockchain and can no longer be deleted. It’s a digital resource, the value of which is determined by the market supply and demand.
What role could the notary have in the metaverse?
If there are still significant obstacles to the use of NFTs to carry out traditional real estate transactions, it is reasonable to assume that, in a few years, solutions will be found.
The proof is that in 2021, a first purchase of real estate in NFTs in the real world it has been brought to life by the real estate platform Propy. The operation took place in the form of an auction. After the platform validated and recorded the transaction in the blockchain, the new owner had immediate access to all the legal documents attached to his acquisition.
After the success of this first attempt which showed the advantages of this type of transaction (speed, security and facilitation of investments for foreign buyers), three US states (Florida, Vermont Arizona) have already given the authorization for use NFTs in real estate.
Furthermore, if we rely on the projection made by the American real estate broker Ryan Serhant, in a few years half of real estate transactions should be done in cryptocurrencies.
These early advances open the door toenormous possibilities for notaries. It can therefore be imagined that the entire sale of a property takes place remotely with the signing of the deed in front of a virtual notary. This would only be the extension of the electronic signature, which up to now cannot yet be done remotely.
Metavers and succession
Currently, NFTs are not automatically transferred upon the death of their owner to the recipient of their choice. However, the excitement I’m getting suggests that a feature will be implemented in the near future.
The notary, on the other hand, can overcome this difficulty with the testamentary instrument or the mandate for future protection. In fact, when drafting a will or mandate, he is able to include, at the request of his client, details of the transfer procedure to be followed to recovery of your e-wallet.
This procedure is perfectly safe, since the will is a handwritten document drawn up in a single copy and kept at the notary’s office, which eliminates any risk of computer piracy. Furthermore, it can be changed or canceled at any time.