We are Advanced Realty Colombia Associates, and we work towards decentralized investment access in our beloved country Colombia. We love to experiment in multiple fields, that’s why we are a technology company first, to develop lean business units within us to base and structure those efforts. It’s applying the UNIX philosophy to business: create simple work units that do one thing well, and can interoperate thanks to having a common language.
We are starting with innovating within the local real estate industry as they are at the core of most of our ideas and vision. Colombia’s real estate is not as structured and regulated as the (for citing a probably familiar example) North American one. Is mostly an open market where direct seller to buyer is normal and agents don’t need to be licensed; Realty services companies are called “Agencies” and deal mainly with transaction brokering; Dual agency is normal, so exclusive selling or buying agents are not.
In the studio we plan to mix properties and business to create individual operative units that work in in diverse markets and industries, not necessarily aligned with the original vertical of real estate, but interconnected and supportive of the other units none the less. That is, when not partnering with other fellow entrepreneurs investing our time and services.
Starting from a realty and services approach, we plan to build a business ecosystem that educates, promotes, and is accessible to investors of all sizes, ages, and experience. To achieve this, is necessary to think in terms of decentralization, and if you are not aware of what it means, or maybe it seems too obvious to you, lets all get on the same page anyway.
To keep this short, more info on who we are and what we do can be found on the rest of the website.
Decentralization and us.
Yes, decentralization in the context of technology and investment has a lot to do with DLT and blockchain, that’s what we are talking about mostly. Sadly, locally, mentioning blockchain is still synonymous with Bitcoin and all the 1st generation cryptomarket drama. Not even regulators seem aware that a 2nd generation already came. And now those of us that want to start a project that more or less aligns with the 3rd generation are practically in limbo.
For us and our ideas, decentralization applies to the technology and framework to make this process of investing and renting something automated, transparent, and compliant first. And then obviously the benefits of being open to the world 24/7, a platform for crowd-funding the establishment, and crowd-sourcing management of new business ideas in real time. Decentralization removes a lot of intermediaries and secrecy, giving an affordable alternative to PEFs and REIT-like tools that are hilariously expensive for our local market.
Hilarious because in developing countries this sketch happens a lot: Imagine a couple tycoons holding tickets to an investment club from a 10 story string on the rooftop of a 20 story building, confused why the people in the street get angry, and concluding that is only ignorance of the economy by the masses is what lead to the anger, since they were meeting them halfway. But how are the masses supposed to learn about “High Economy” without being able to practice it first? The tickets are still to high. And if the people bunches to reach the tickets on their own, they will get in problems for not using the door.
A proxy solution is needed to abstract the small, inexperienced would-be investor from all the requirements that make conventional investing expensive, the learning curve will be the same, but the first funding step shouldn’t be 10 story high. Banks agree and most have developed hybrid saving accounts and easy access to IF within the bank apps, but most people don’t rely in banks, as they are unreliable and expensive. Have in mind that, 2 meltdowns later, Colombia is probably the only country in the world still having a tax to help bailout the banks in 2009, eveyone avoids them if they can.
This gives a large unaccounted market that is still going to invest their money, even if it is on some shady scheme. In fact, people look for those shady schemes, they participate knowingly and willingly. The reason our pyramids evolved to mandalas ages ago is pure demand.
More focused on our core, we align with the formulations of Real Estate 3.0, seeing how it was inevitable, it wasn’t that hard to visualize the opportunities this evolution would bring to the local market and we prepared for those, withing the context of other startup ideas we developed earlier this year.
That evolution is here now, but the regulation is still behind, coming up, but not here yet. And while not antagonist to blockchain in any relevant sense. (No government, I don’t want to pay my taxes in Bitcoin.) it is not helpful to the development of new business ideas that rely on those paradigms.
That is obviously our first and foremost challenge. Not to figure out how to adapt to a restrictive environment per-se, because navigating a regulation minefield is something we knew we had to do anyway. We care a lot too on how to make clear from the beginning that this project is nothing alike the local ways in which the common people “invest in crypto”, mysterious ways that don’t require to know what a wallet is, or how any of it works.
And nothing alike the usual methods and premises that supports a conventional crypto project which revolves around the token, its logic, and how the market values that utility. We revolve around realty and businesses, the logic is given by the law and market, and the value are the tangible assets plus businesses value. Simple as that.
Like that one, there’s many parallels that can be made, from different points of view, that show how we are certainly a rare proposition, but nothing inherently risky or ambiguous. Our vision of blockchain is for it to bridge global investment with local regulation, not antagonizing or going around those institutions, but hoping they meet the tech halfway; With the sandbox environment looks like they are already on the move.
Education! education! education!
We certainly wish that local regulation were more clear, it’ll probably motivate the average citizen to learn a bit more about it, but it would be disingenuous to think that any of those by themselves are the reasons for the low penetration of crypto in everyday business. High transaction costs or low liquidity dynamics doesn’t help. But at the hearth of it, is the inherent complexity of the technology.
Not saying everyone already knows or cares how the bank works inside, but there’s the SFC to make sure it works as it should, and FOGAFIN is there to back up some of my money if the bank runs. In crypto, real crypto, you have to be the bank, the regulator and the insurance, and even if the user reaches this level of awareness, it doesn’t mean that they’ll find this exercise necessary for their needs, they probably wouldn’t know where to start if they went for it.
There’s a lot of education to be done on the fundamentals of tech, to be able to convey how the paradigms are different. Not even talking about elliptic curve and co. We are talking about fundamentals for IT in general, networking, a primer on INFOSEC, etc. Even if we are not a 100% crypto exercise, is in our best interest to help grow everyone’s local blockchain markets and liquidity.
We hope to join or support efforts to develop a better understanding of economy and technology, the product of both that is FinTech, and blockchain, the black sheep brother.