Category: RAC Leaders

Blockchain and crytptocurrencies

 

By RAC member Ernie Durbin, SRA

Not a day goes by without multiple news stories about cryptocurrency. Numerous cryptocurrencies are active in the marketplace but the oldest and most well-known is Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, all rely on the foundational technology known as Blockchain. Cryptocurrencies are disruptive and have created a great deal of excitement, however, the Blockchain technology they are based on promises to revolutionize any industry that relies on big data. Some have said that Blockchain technology will transform our lives the same way the Internet has over the last several decades. So, what exactly is Blockchain technology?

At its heart, a Blockchain relies upon a system of “ledgers,” which is certainly nothing new. Ledgers have been around since clay tablets were used to record financial transactions. Double entry accounting is based on permanent ledgers where new entries are added, and previous entries are left unmodified. Each transaction builds upon previous transactions. Blockchain technology takes a simple ledger to a whole new level, one that is completely decentralized. A Blockchain ledger system is distributed over a peer to peer network. Everyone in the Blockchain network has an instance of the same identical ledger. Rather than relying on one trusted entity to maintain the ledger, all participants have a validated record of every transaction. Transactions do not have to be financial in nature; they can be any digital data. Financial transactions, medical records, retail inventory, anything of value can be tracked in a distributed ledger via Blockchain technology.

Blockchain stores information in batches called “blocks.” These blocks are linked together in a chronological order creating a continuous “chain” of information. If you need to make a change in a previous block of information you do not overwrite it, you simply add a new block with the correct data. The new block records that “X was changed to Y;” all renditions of the chain of data are kept intact and distributed to everyone in the Blockchain. This is a nondestructive way to track data changes over time similar to the centuries-old general financial ledger. The big difference is no one entity is in control of the master ledger, everyone in the peer to peer Blockchain network has the same complete “master” ledger. In addition, each block contains a “hash” which is essentially an electronic fingerprint unique to that particular block. As blocks are added to the chain, they include their own hash as well as the hash of the previous block. Tampering with or changing the data changes the hash of that block. This ensures that data cannot be modified or changed on any one node in the computer network. Combination of immutability and the distributed nature of the Blockchain creates trust in the data without a central authority required.

Before a new block of information can be added to the chain, a few things have to happen. First, to create the block, a cryptographic puzzle must be solved by the initiating computer. Next, the computer that solves the cryptographic puzzle shares the solution with all the other computers within the Blockchain network. This process is called “proof of work.” The network of computers will then verify this “proof of work” and, if it is correct, the block will be added to the chain permanently. The verification process works by consensus, requiring a majority of the computers on the network to validate the information before it is added to the Blockchain. Combining a complex math puzzle with the verification by numerous computers ensures every block on the chain can be trusted. Trust in the data is fostered by the distribution of transparent peer-to-peer information, without a central keeper of data.

By establishing trust in the data, Blockchain technology removes intermediaries from the data verification process. Many transactions today require a trusted intermediary such as an attorney or financial institution. We rely on these intermediaries to keep our information confidential and to verify the information of the other person involved in the transaction. As an example, title companies verify the “chain of title” on a piece of real estate prior to transfer. If the verified information was available in a Blockchain network, a history of all transfers of title and other property rights would be instantly available and verified as accurate. Title companies serve market participants by reducing risk, but they do so at a cost of time and money. Removing intermediaries and relying on trusted data would greatly reduce transaction time and cost while also controlling risk. Blockchain provides a trusted interaction with data completely changing the way we access, verify and transact with other parties.

Blockchain technology is currently in its infancy. It has been widely deployed by cryptocurrencies and its use in this sector has demonstrated some of its weaknesses. The largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has an enormous distributed ledger. Every transaction since Bitcoin’s inception is included in the Blockchain that is distributed globally. Since Bitcoin is a monetary transaction, very few data points are required to be added to each block. In spite of the small amount of data, each distributed ledger has grown to gigabytes of information. Bitcoin is demonstrating that a broad public Blockchain has scalability issues.

The Bitcoin Blockchain, because of its size, can only process approximately 7 transactions per second. Compare that to approximately 20,000 transactions per second MasterCard can process. Time to verify a transaction is prohibitive by modern standards. Imagine ordering your favorite coffee from your local barista and trying to pay with Bitcoin; it might take 30 minutes to complete the transaction! In addition to the slow verification process, the energy costs of maintaining a globally distributed network are staggering. Forbes Magazine reports that global Bitcoin Blockchain consumes enough energy to power a country like Switzerland each year or 1.5% of the energy consumption in the United States. Most of this energy is a result of the proof of work calculations, essential to the distributed ledger.

Technology advances will eventually solve some of the weaknesses of Blockchain and overtime, Blockchain will change the way we do business. Trusted data sources that do not require intermediaries in transactions will disrupt many industries including the real estate industry. In a future article, I will address how Blockchain is being used and might be used in the real estate industry. As with any application of technology, there are tremendous benefits and unintended consequences. The real estate industry is entering the era of big data and Blockchain technology will be a part of how we interact with that data in the future.

Republished with permission by Appraisal Buzz – found here
https://www.appraisalbuzz.com/blockchain-technology-data-can-trust/

This article was first published in the Appraisal Buzz magazine. Subscribe now to receive your edition of the Appraisal Buzz Spring 2019 Magazine!

RAC Member Ernie Durbin Receives 2018 Valuation Visionary Award from CRN

Our very own longtime RAC member Ernie Durbin, Chief Valuation Officer for Clarocity Corporation, was named the 2018 Valuation Visionary award winner by Collateral Risk Network (CRN). Here’s the interview with Appraisal Buzz.

Each year, the Collateral Risk Network presents the award in recognition of the person who demonstrates leadership, innovation, professionalism, and one who strives to better the industry for their peers. We will be presenting the award at Valuation Expo in Charleston in March.

Ernie Durbin is renowned for creativity with technology advancements and industry-wide involvement. Ernie is widely recognized as an innovative leader with vision and foresight. Ernie was nominated by his peers and we are honored to recognize him as the 8th recipient of Valuation Visionary.

I can’t think of anyone who is more future-orientated in our profession than Ernie and we thank him for all he does for RAC.

Congrats Ernie!

Jonathan J. Miller CRP, CRE
RAC President
jonathanmiller@rac.net

Dwellworks Featured Appraiser: Sherry L. Kaley, Knoxville, TN

One of our RACers, Sherry L. Kaley, was the first featured appraiser in the new Dwellworks newsletter.

Sherry L. Kaley is a Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser, and partner of Kaley and Tuck Real Estate Appraisers, the only two-woman appraisal firm in Knoxville, and has been appraising in Knoxville/Knox County and eight adjoining counties for nearly 20 years…

Congrats to Sherry!

Jonathan J. Miller, CRE, CRP
RAC President 2017-2018
Relocation Appraisers & Consultants
www.rac.net

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RAC Conference Frisco TX: Changes, Challenges, Solutions

As I’ve said many times, the annual RAC conference is the best appraiser-centric conference I’ve ever attended. It is developed and operated by active appraisers who are working to help you thrive as a professional.

As the current president of RAC, I’m proud to be part of an organization comprised of the best residential appraisers in the U.S.

Click here for more information.

RAC member Tom Allen elected to represent TAFAC on TAF Board of Trustees

RAC president Jonathan Miller spoke with RAC member Thomas E. Allen, SCRP from Oklahoma this morning (who is also first vice president and a former president of RAC). Tom mentioned that he attended the The Appraisal Foundation Advisory Council (TAFAC) meetings last Thursday/Friday in Washington DC and was elected to represent TAFAC on The Appraisal Foundation Board of Trustees next year.

Tom recalled that:

without RAC, this would never have happened. RAC has presented so many opportunities for me.

Congratulations to Tom for this achievement and for his leadership in RAC and the appraisal profession!

The Appraisal Foundation Advisory Council (TAFAC) is composed of 60 non-profit organizations and government agencies. TAFAC member organizations represent various professions and occupations with an interest in valuation including appraisers, home builders, real estate brokers, financial institution regulators, federal land acquisition agencies, the secondary mortgage market and the private mortgage insurance industry.

Customary and Reasonable Fees: The Elephant in the Room

Appraisal Buzz, Spring 2016Ernie Durbin

By Ernie Durbin, SRA, CRP, RAC Member

Wikipedia describes the metaphor “the elephant in the room” as, “an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.”

Somehow, recent events in the valuation space have deflected attention away from the elephant in the room, customary and reasonable fees. Real estate appraisers are resilient folks. They can adapt to change as well as any other professional. But like everyone else, they don’t want to do more work for less pay. Most of the issues facing the valuation space today point to one simple problem- customary and reasonable fees. It’s time to address this obvious problem and the risks that it poses to our industry.

Enjoy the full article here.

 

RAC Members Recognized by Worldwide ERC

RAC members Tom Allen, SCRP, and Craig Gilbert, CRP, SRA, have been recognized by Worldwide ERC and will be honored at the National Relocation Conference this week in Las Vegas.

Tom Allen, SCRP, has earned WERC’s 2015 Distinguished Service Award.  By earning this award he also achieves Senior Certified Relocation Professional status, and joins only 170 Worldwide ERC members who hold this designation.

Tom has been a member of RAC since 1995, and is RAC’s treasurer.  He started his real estate appraisal and consulting firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1971.

Craig Gilbert, CRP, SRA, has been awarded Worldwide ERC’s 2015 Meritorious Service Award.  Craig was previously awarded the President’s award for development of the 2010 WERC relocation appraisal report.

Craig is one of the founding members of RAC, and serves on the board of directors.  He has been an active appraiser since 1975.  His firm is located in Huntington Beach, California.

Joseph T. Sodano: RAC Appraiser As Entrepreneur

RACsodano

Many members of RAC are entrepreneurs, breaking out on their own to startup an appraisal practice. One of our distinguished members, Joseph T. Sodano SRA, SCRREA, SCRP who covers the counties of Morris, Union, Essex, Somerset and Hunterdon in New Jersey, has launched Sodano Appraisal Services, LLC.

As a relocation industry thought leader, Joe has been providing relocation appraisal services since 1977, earning his SRA in 1983 and his SCRP in 2013. He was awarded WERC Distinguished Service Award 2014. His professional accomplishments are too numerous to place in the blog.

Please email Joe and wish him well!

RAC goes Hollywood, conveying what we are all about

Ok, not Hollywood. But we’ve got a story to tell.

Over the past several years it has become apparent that RAC needed to get the message out: not only are our members the best relocation appraisers in the business (we literally wrote the book on relocation appraisal), but our members are the best residential appraisers in North America. With the significant depletion of experienced, high quality appraisers since the onset of the financial crisis, RAC members fill the void by specializing in complex residential properties including relocation, litigation support, testimony and reviews.

We really want you to know that.

The video project was spearheaded by RAC member and former president Jim Goodrich with help from members Suzanne Bloyed and Jonathan Miller – and invaluable contributions from current RAC president Michael Cook. The presentation conveys who we are and the benefits of becoming a member of RAC.

– Exposure to new clients and new sources of business
– Aligned with a highly regarded appraisal brand
– Interaction with well experienced residential appraisers
– Education opportunities including conferences and events
– Leadership opportunities to help professional growth
– and many more…