Crypto in Real Estate Finance

61 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2022 Last revised: 25 May 2023

See all articles by R Wilson Freyermuth

R Wilson Freyermuth

University of Missouri at Columbia

Christopher K. Odinet

University of Iowa - College of Law

Andrea Tosato

University of Nottingham, School of Law; University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Date Written: November 4, 2022


Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have ushered in a digital gold rush. But all that glitters is not gold. The latest fad is the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to purchase and finance real estate. Typically, crypto real estate transactions begin with the transfer of title for a residential property into a dedicated business entity, such as a limited liability company. Thereafter, an NFT is ‘minted’ and used to represent the ownership interest in that entity. The real property is then marketed online specifying that, to acquire it, one simply purchases the relevant NFT via a blockchain transfer. Crucially, buyers are expected to use the NFT as collateral to fund their purchase, rather than obtaining a traditional mortgage. Proponents of this novel structure insist that it yields cheap, fast, and secure real estate transfers, disrupting a sector infamous for its high costs, delays, and labyrinthine bureaucracy.

This Article offers the first exhaustive examination of crypto real estate transactions. We reveal that the NFT financing model is not a mere technological upgrade, but rather transports parties out of the domain of traditional mortgages and into secured transactions law, with significant legal and policy implications. Most worryingly, it exposes borrowers to swift and irreversible home liquidations in case of default, robbing them of the protections historically afforded to homeowners. As foreclosures already impact minorities disproportionately, crypto real estate transactions risk hurting society’s most vulnerable. Our proposed normative framework seeks to address these flaws. We contend that the law should look past technological mechanisms and focus on substance. These dealings are still real property purchases financed with a loan, so courts should offer those in default the same safeguards available under traditional mortgages. Robust public policies on ownership must be upheld, and fair protections for the family home cannot be sacrificed at the altar of innovation.

Keywords: crypto, home, blockchain, UCC, foreclosure, business entities, corporate law, NFTs, tokens, mortgages, property law

Suggested Citation

Freyermuth, R Wilson and Odinet, Christopher K. and Tosato, Andrea, Crypto in Real Estate Finance (November 4, 2022). University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2022-13, U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2023-21, Alabama Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

R Wilson Freyermuth

University of Missouri at Columbia ( email )

332 Cornell Hall
Columbia, MO Columbia 65211
United States

Christopher K. Odinet (Contact Author)

University of Iowa - College of Law ( email )

130 Byington Road
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

HOME PAGE: http://

Andrea Tosato

University of Nottingham, School of Law ( email )

Law and Social Science Building
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 1BB
United Kingdom

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States

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