We had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Lloyd, the Managing Director of Dominium. Dominium pride’s itself as being the world’s first global property platform on the blockchain. When first learning about blockchain technology, a common use case for blockchain technology was improving the way properties and real estate are managed. That’s exactly what Dominium aims to do. Listen now!
Before we begin, this is a paid sponsored Podcast where we interview cutting-edge blockchain companies that we think will be the most interesting to our listeners. We are not recommending that you invest any of these ICOs. This is not financial, investment, or trading advice. Be sure to consult with a financial adviser before investing in the cryptocurrency space.
Dominium ICO Interview
Jason: So today I am talking with Mark Lloyd the managing director of Dominium. Thanks for joining us today Mark.
Mark: Hi Jason good to be there.
Jason: Awesome! So, let’s get right into things. Tell me about yourself, your experience and what led you up to working with Dominium.
Mark: Yeah, sure. So, I’ve been in business now for nearly 30 years. I have run a number of companies, set up a number of companies, and in that time, sold a couple and I’ve been a property investor for the past 9 and half 10 years.
Jason: So, tell me what you are working on now, what is Dominium?
Mark: Well essentially it’s a decentralized regulated real estate platform which enables you to buy, sell, manage, raise finance, in a nutshell. Obviously, there are lots of intricacies within that but that’s essentially, what we are doing. There are some platforms out there existing web platforms that where you can do parts of those but you can’t do everything in between. So, we put it all together and that was really based around the challenges that we have faced in the past few years as investors, so we thought that It would be nice to have that, that, that, that, all in one place.
Jason: So what is Dominium trying to solve and what is benefit of bringing it to the blockchain?
Mark: Well, I think this there’s three main areas of what we are looking at so if we look at investors first because that was the first thing we looked at, so what’s the issues we have? Well first of all, limited liquidity. If you invest in property or real estate, your money is tied up. Is there a way that we can release that? There’s a high point of entry. If you buy property, whichever country you are in, there’s going to be an initial deposit amount you need to put down. So, there’s a relatively high point of entry. If you’re investing in a property fund same kind of principle. It’s probably 10 to 20 thousand pounds, dollars, or euros as your starting point. There’s limited transparency. So, if I am looking to invest in a property today and I asked for details of you know, just some mundane details, like: When was the boiler last changed? When was the electrical inspection last carried out? And if you asked me those kind of questions, I’d think well I don’t know. Was it five years ago? Was it six years ago? And when you get the legal paper work back from the notary or the lawyer or the solicitor and it usually has don’t know don’t know don’t know don’t know and lastly reliance on financial institutions you know the property investing community the real estate world as a whole is reliant primarily in financial institutions. So that’s kind of the investors stroke retail kind of part of things then is the problems for professionals so professionals like us that want to perhaps set up property fund. There’s regulatory compliance, it’s marketing costs, administrative tasks, legal fees, all those kind of things which take up a lot of time and obviously cost quite a bit of money in the process. Lastly, we look at the perspective from the various societies around the world. So what are they wants they want they want all of us to adhere to the legal regulation they want us to adhere to the anti-money laundering and KYC checks adhere to marketing regulations and declaration of income so that those are kind of the problems that we initial problems that we saw and yeah there is more since then but that’s kind of in a nutshell.
Jason: Yeah, I mean you kind of have everything all in one now and you know on top of that I did I really like the idea of having all the past history built into it so that you can see exactly what’s been done or you know what hasn’t been done. I just recently bought a house and you know it’s pain in the butt and the realtors was like, “I don’t know, I don’t know” it’s like just like you said and it’s not helpful for me and that’s something that you know every buyer really needs to know is was that boiler change was it not you know what has been going on lately so I can totally relate to that.
Mark: Yeah because it affects your buying decision affects the amount you’re going to pay if you have got to pay for a new boiler within the next year or two years that’s going to affect your offer isn’t it so you know it’s those (Jason replied – sure) It’s kind of minor details but really important details.
Jason: yeah and you don’t want something sneaking up on you, a year or two from now that could have been prevented.
Jason: All right, so I love the idea, can you tell me more about the Dominium team?
Mark: Yeah, sure so the Dominium team is truly international you know starting with our chairman Sven he’s German, we’ve got some Dutch we’ve got Swiss, Spanish, our tech team is Indian, so it’s truly almost global company and it fit when you take into account our ambassadors that we have now in number of countries worldwide it really is a worldwide company and it’s kind of reflected in in what we’re trying to do really.
Jason: Yeah and can you go into a little bit of detail like what their experience?
Mark: It’s varies, I mean so Thomas he runs Immobilien which is a very large property management company in Germany with something like 3000 properties under management. Parts of the rest of the team come from the Max Property Group which I was managing director or am managing director of the UK arm. The Max Property Group encompasses three countries which is the UK, Netherlands, and Germany and within those three countries we have several hundred millions of euros of property some of it’s just managed some of its actually owned physically by us a part of that which owns sorry which we own is going to go into the Dominium platform.
Jason: Great, so you’re kind of taking this Dominium and adding it on to what you guys already have you guys have already been working on this stuff and have a lot of experience and this is just enhancing what you guys already have?
Mark: Yeah, I think you know the experience we have, it shouldn’t really be understated this is not a startup as such. Between us, we’ve been in business over 200 years and a substantial amount of property real estate experience over central Europe essentially as where it is and of course we own a lot of properties ourselves you know we’ve come at this project from a property real estate angle rather than just a tech angle and I’ve seen a number of projects out there that tend to start with the tech first and try and find a product to fit it well we already have the product, we’re now building the tech to fit our product.
Jason: Great, I think that’s a super important. What is your target market now and how is that going to be changing in the next year or so?
Mark: Wow, that’s a big question. It literally is the entire world and that may sound a little bit glib but shouldn’t underestimate the size of the real estate market. I think the last figures I saw something like two hundred and twenty trillion dollars now to kind of put that in perspective that’s more than all the gold silver Bitcoin and every single crypto currency out there combined and some so it’s an absolute massive market and I mentioned earlier that we want to bring the cost of getting involved, down because that’s an inhibitor for a lot of people and as I said you know essentially someone could invest from a pound, dollar, euro clearly they’re not going to get much in terms of return from that but that’s the idea to bring to down so that essentially anybody anywhere around the world could potentially get involved in that platform.
Jason: Yeah, I really like that because I mean just coming form like an investment standpoint if you’re I know like when I first got started in the stock market I look at companies where I want to buy Amazon or something like that but I have to spend over $2000 now to buy one share so being able to kind of say okay I just want to do $20 today or you know a hundred dollars today and then invest over time like you can now do that with property.
Mark: that’s definitely the idea. We will reach that so you know and that will make us a truly global all-encompassing platform.
Jason: Yeah, definitely. What geographic areas you focused on?
Mark: Well, initially said earlier we’re Europe so UK, Netherlands in Germany where we have several hundred million in euros under management and that’s really where our companies are based so I said one is Immobilien which is based in Germany, Max Property Group which is represented in the UK Netherlands and Germany so it made sense to really start there because that’s where our concentration of assets are and a portion of those now the owned ones have already or in the process of being added into the Dominium platform.
Jason: Okay, and then do you plan on expanding these areas?
Mark: Yes, as time goes by we definitely will. Clearly what we want to do is make sure that everything is working as it should. That’s why we are using our own real estate initially to test on the platform and once that’s happened then yes, I mean potentially we could invest anywhere in the world.
Jason: Great. How is your project different or better than what already exists?
Mark: Well, I think that’s quite a unique thing about it. There isn’t really a platform that does what ours does you know there are web based platforms where obviously you can advertise for a property for example so if you want to sell a property you can advertise on the web but nothing is currently linked into blockchain and bear in mind that the elements that we’re looking to do so sale rent manage raise finance and record all that through the blockchain and there is nothing really like that and just to give you an example of what I’m talking about here and you’ll relate to this because I know you’ve just bought your own property when you are buying a property there’s lots of questions you want to know and they might seem quite mundane but they are important. When was the boiler last changed? When was the electrical installation last checked? Do I know that I’ve got a damp issue? And if you ask me as a homeowner, when was the boiler last changed? Oh, five years ago, six years ago, or was it eight years ago? And all the paperwork you get back from your solicitor or notary or lawyer usually says, I don’t know. Now if that’s recorded on the blockchain, which it will be, then it’s immutable. So it’s there and that affects your buying decision, it affects the amount you’re going to pay for the property because all transactions are recorded so you know the boiler example you know it’s a problem the tenant raises a ticket the owner of the property will accept the ticket repair person tens carries out the repair tenant confirms signs off on it and the owner pays the bill and accepts the repair so all those things will be record on blockchain you can see all the historic historical data.
Jason: Well, that’s a lot of data.
Mark: Hahaha that’s why we need a blockchain for it.
Jason: Yeah, that’s awesome, I can just see how would have helped me. You know there was a lot of times during this whole process when I’m buying a house where I was like man if just had this stuff stored on the blockchain, it would make things so much easier and another thing was you know there’s multiple parties you are dealing with throughout the process and it felt like every single party was asking me for the same documentation every time. They couldn’t just go in one spot and find if all and make it easier for me they had to each ask me separately and I mean it just seems like they really needs to be some innovation here, it seems like things are kind of stuck you know a hundred years ago.
Mark: Well, they haven’t changed it 100 years that’s the problem (Jason replied – haha yeah and it shows it really does… Mark replied yep, Jason replied – awesome)
Jason: So, how many users do you guys now?
Jason: So can you walk me through a user using a platform on the buyer side from the investment point you know every kind of scenario they are like how is all this going to work?
Mark: Okay, so from the investor point of view first of all so in order to subscribe to Dominium by buying tokens you’ll need to register on or platform and you need to go through the KYC AML side of things and you know we a regulated platform at the end of the day. And that’s why we need to have those like compliance done right at the very beginning and then there’s a number of different levels of compliance weather you are just applying for the airdrop program, where you get a certain number of free tokens or if you’re actually going to invest hard cash into buying tokens. And so that’s really from the investment point of view. For actual using the platform when it’s launched you’ll have… so the tokens are essentially utility tokens that’s what really what we are talking about here and they are for transactional purposes so for example if you want to list a property for sale on the platform you’ll need some Dom tokens if you want to advertise a property for rental, you’ll need some Dom tokens if you want to download an agreement you’ll need some Dom token so they’re transactional tokens, but that’s essentially how the user experience will be.
Jason: So, on the technology side of things you guys chose to build dominium on Ardor. Why that platform vs Ethereum, EOS, or anything else out there right now?
Mark: Okay, well, firstly tech is not my strong point, but the other platforms are really, really good. But the reasons we chose Ardor are a few a few things. First, something called controlled assets, phase transactions and then, avoidance of the blockchain bloat. So, let me just explain what I mean by that. We need controlled assets to ensure the securities listed on the platforms can only be traded and purchased by approved accounts. This is only way we can comply with regulatory requirements. We need phase transactions to show only true transactions recorded on the blockchain. So, for example similar to the boiler example I gave you a little bit earlier and then bloat well most people I think have heard of bloat but what we didn’t want to happen is what happened with the crypto kitties on Ethereum, where transactions were delayed for days that’s really the kind of situation we want to avoid totally and that’s we feel is totally encompassed by Ardor. Also, choosing Ardor was because it’s less likely to have problems because they offer a blockchain as a service and it’s on the NXT platform, so we like the stability of that. Because it’s blockchain as a service, it means that we have a certain number of developers. The our developers that are actually working on the platforms it’s unlike Ethereum and where it is totally an open platform where you’ve got and man is dog uploading code to it that can have bugs in and everything else so it’s more likely to have issues so that’s you know one of the main reasons why we chose the Ardor platform but also you know the real estate side again it should not be underestimate the size of the real estate platform if crypto kitties knocked over Ethereum for few days which is essentially in plain language what it did what do you think the real estate what’s going to do. So, we’ve got what we call singleton assets which are essentially single properties and we’ve got a property funds which are controlled through tokenized assets which is a different type of token again.
Jason: yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense for you guys especially since Ardor is a blockchain as a service I can see how that added support would be attractive to your platform.
Mark: Yeah, it’s really important I mean I have said this a few here but the size of this project we are doing here is just enormous and when we achieve our objective and it’s going to take a number of years to a truly global platform but the number of transactions that we are going through will just be enormous.
Jason: Yeah, and I remember you know trying to but some crypto kitties and what it’s all about and it would take me like 30 minutes just to try to get a transaction through and not to mention if I wanted it to go through I’d have to pay a huge fee because everybody’s trying to do that so I you know it’s just so important that they fix that and that you guys have a platform that has already kind of tackled that issue.
Mark: Yeah and I think you know crypto kitties was a virtual asset we are talking about proper stuff real assets here and we can’t afford run afford for those kind mistakes to happen.
Jason: Yeah, you can lose a crypto kitty but can’t lose the house
Mark: haha exactly
Jason: Great, so what kind of advances can we expect from Dominium in the next year or so?
Mark: Well, so at the moment like I said we are in the process of uploading our own real estate to the platform and once we have done that and we connected to the Ardor test net then once that’s all working we’ll be adding the property listing functionality and all those kind of aspects to it so we expect the platform to be able except 3rd party property and property funds by middle to end of 2019 and that really does then open up a whole new world to what we are doing it’s going to exponentially grow from what we are currently doing ourselves.
Jason: So, one thing that just popped into my head was you mentioned you are going to be uploading the properties that your company already owns to the platform so you can test things out make sure everything is good and before you start accepting other people’s properties. What kind of properties are those are those commercial, are those residential, what does that profile look like?
Mark: It’s mostly residential. A mixture of apartments, houses and there’s a small commercial matter too but it’s primarily residential.
Jason: Okay great it is good to know. So as for as the token sale goes where you guys at how are things going so far?
Mark: Ok, so we launched our ICO just over 2 weeks ago 3rd of September. We are about just half a million euros raised so far. Our hard cap is 90 million so some way to go yet but as I said we have only really just started marketing so confident we will get there and yeah that’s kind of where we are at the moment.
Jason: For potential investors what would you say is the incentive to hold on to the token after buying?
Mark: Wow, I think if you look at the way the platform is structured so of the money that’s being raised approximately 80% of that is going to be used to purchase more real estate which is going to also held by Dominium so if you are buying our Dom tokens and holding on to them those properties that we are buying and going to rent out, the rental income goes back into the platform. So, it helps Dominium platform to grow. More transactions will take place which creates more demand for the Dom token, so the more properties we have got on there the more transactions is going to take place more people will need Dom tokens but also to ensure that we get a decline in the number of Dom tokens that are out there we have both a buyback and a burn program so of the tokens that are used for transactions, so listing a property, downloading a rental agreement, once they used they’re burnt from the platform. But also further down the road we will look to buy back through the rental income that’s produced on the platform we would look to buy back tokens at whatever the market rate is at that time on the various exchanges so by limiting the supply or reducing the supply of the Dom tokens it’s a basic economics we reduce supply the theory should be that worst case we stabilize best case the value of the Dom increases.
Jason: So you are kind of coming at it from two different angles you have the increased the demand and then you have the decreased supply from the token burn and buy back. I think that’s really cool because not a lot of other ICOs or new platforms out there are doing something like that to create that extra demand and extra incentive to hold on to the token.
Mark: Yes, special and unique-ish haha I think we just we wanted to come up with something that encouraged people to invest in us and hold on. You know just think of those people that got involved in Bitcoin this time last year they would have made a substantial amount of profit if they just held on. We are really no different, we are at the start of that phase.
Jason: Great, what kind of ICO restrictions do you guys have?
Mark: Well, there’s no real restrictions in terms of purchasing the Dom tokens so the utility tokens but there are for the controlled assets so and that’s really where the tokenized structure potentially comes in and this is why we won’t allow anyone to buy anything without passing through the KYC anti-money laundering procedures first because that way we know who you are, where you’re from and this allows us to put restrictions in place on directly on the platform so for example a person from the US is often not allowed to invest in securities outside of the US as this would force the SEC so this is for the security to be reported to the SEC and there’s a lot of companies don’t want to do that and this goes for a couple of other countries as well South Africans and China so it all needs to be done correctly under the right licenses but in terms of the actual utility tokens they are essentially open to anybody as long as they just go through the initial process on the platform registering for the AML and KYC.
Jason: Great, there gets me excited since I am in the US. Tell me a little bit about some of the partnerships that Dominium currently has?
Mark: Yeah, so we have a couple companies that we have linked up with in Europe. So, we have Aquarius which is accountancy firm in Germany and our finance director Marko is part of that company. John Savva an accountancy firm in the UK and company called Ad Publisher which is a marketing company in Liechtenstein where Gudos comes from and that’s really, at the moment, what we’ve got. We talk with a lot of people. Since we launched or even pre-launched, we have been contacted by so many companies that want to come on the board with property portfolios, with property funds, and the like. I was talking to a guy at a network meet in London only about six weeks ago. He’d heard me talk, liked the idea of the platform, and he said, “I need some help, I’ve got 9,000 properties that I need help with,” and I thought wow, this is just fantastic. These are the kind of things we want to be used on the Dominium Platform.
Jason: Yeah and why not? I mean why not people like him come over to your platform and upload their properties (Mark replied – Yeah) it just makes a lot of sense to me. So, one question that’s always super popular when you are visiting any ICO’s telegram channel is when exchange? when exchange? Can you tell us a little bit about when we can expect Dom tokens to be on an exchange?
Mark: Not too far away. They’ll be tradable as soon as the soon as Dominium child chain goes live because Ardor comes with a built-in decentralized exchange and trading functionality. But, we have also been in conservations with a number of other exchanges where the Dom tokens will be listed before the end of this year.
Jason: That’s great I mean it’s only a few months away so.
Mark: Yeah, we were already halfway through September so it’s not all.
Jason: All right so how did Dominium get its name?
Mark: Well, Dominium, it was something that our marketing people come up with and what we were looking for was something that meant ownership, domain, and Dominium essentially comes from the Latin of that so and we thought that sounds great you know it’s bringing old world into new and taking property real estate from the old world into new world with Dominium.
Jason: Very cool! So, what are you most excited about in the cryptocurrency space?
Mark: I think we have seen a lot of speculations, scams, and so on over the past 12 to 18 months in our world unfortunately, so what I am looking forward to is more stability and the asset backing of the tokens. Yeah that’s going to happen within the Dominium platform if a company wants to raise money for a project then they can raise the money through asset backed tokens. So I think that’s by far the most exciting move in the crypto space. You know I have seen so many crypto projects come out onto the market and then disappear and I think everyone is sick of that. They come out there they look to raise some cash and they have got no foundation so they just disappear from the face of the earth. I think what people looking for now is something to be physical some backed real asset real technology behind whatever project there is they are promoting with Dominium you can’t really go wrong. We have the best physical asset in the world which is property.
Jason: Just in general where do you see cryptocurrency in heading in the next five years say five years?
Mark: Clearly, we are going to need to work with the authorities you know to ensure the crypto space become more regulated that’s going to be beneficial to everybody. But also, in terms of the transparency of everything you know that’s going to be beneficial not just to us as individuals and companies but also to the authorities, so they are comfortable with the way our industry is heading and I think you know the two combined prompts for a very exciting future.
Jason: So how can people get involved, how people contact you give us a little bit information about that?
Mark: Well, so obviously we have got a website dominium.me you can go register on there as I said earlier you got to go through the KYC and AML procedures if you want to do anything on the platform but also you can get involved with our social media channels such medium telegram which I think we are 20,000 users now something like that, twitter, Facebook, our YouTube channel which has got a lot of instructional videos on there as well such as to how to use platform so if you are not sure go on to a YouTube platform that’ll talk you through the KYC and AML procedures for example and got some interesting videos on there as well that helps explain a little bit in graphic terms about how the platform actually works.
Jason: Great, anything else you want to mention about Dominium?
Mark: Yeah, I think you know it’s quite easy for me to say I think we are at the start of something really life-changing and something is going to change the world the way the real estate world is currently operating and I think we are. You know the real estate world is so antiquated it needs bringing into the 21st century and I had read an article recently on one of the ICO platforms that described us as the uber of real estate and that was quite flattering but I think we are. You know we are not quite where uber is yet clearly but you know we will be and I think we will far exceed the uber of this world but we will become the go to platform for real estate worldwide.
Jason: Thanks for coming on the Podcast today Mark. It’s been a real pleasure.
Mark: You are welcome Jason.
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This is a paid sponsored podcast where we interview cutting-edge blockchain companies, that we think will be most interesting to our listeners. We are not recommending that you invest in any of these ICOs. This is not financial, investment, or trading advice. Be sure to consult with a financial advisor before investing in the cryptocurrency space.