Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Slice of prime Zurich real estate sold on blockchain

Bahnhofstrasse
Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich is one of the most upmarket shopping streets in the world. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

A building on Zurich’s most exclusive shopping street has been converted into a blockchain-powered investment following its CHF130 million ($134 million) sale. It is the latest attempt to unlock the value of bricks and mortar using digitally-coded tokens.

Bahnhofstrasse 52, which houses offices and a Swatch retail outlet, was bought by Zug-based real estate investment firm BrickMarkExternal link on Wednesday. The company has issued digital tokens, underpinned by a bond, which can be bought and eventually traded by investors who want a slice of the building’s rental income and increase in sale value.

BrickMark funded about 20% of the purchase by giving the seller, RFR Holding, a batch of its newly created tokens. This means that RFR Holding retains a stake in the future income of the building.

“There has never been a token-financed transaction of this magnitude,” said BrickMark CEO Stefan Rind in a statementExternal link. “We are implementing what was once no more than a concept in the real estate industry.”

The Bahnhofstrasse buildling is the first of a planned global real estate portfolio that could be worth upwards of CHF1 billion, the company said. BrickMark is accumulating a €50 million cash stockpile from investors but also intends to part-finance further acquisitions with its tokens.

Smart contracts

The tokens are created by drawing up digital “smart” contracts that entitle holders to a share of the portfolio’s financial spoils (they could also result in losses if the properties lose value).

The tokens are created and traded on a blockchain – a digital platform that proponents believe is a much more efficient system than the current paperwork-based method of buying and selling properties. The smart contracts embedded in the tokens can also be custom-made to automatically carry out a range of functions, such as paying dividends and fees.

BrickMark is the latest in a growing list of blockchain companies setting their sights on the real estate market. Last year, a consortium led by blockimmo converted a Swiss building into digital shares and sold a 20% stake to investors over the blockchain.

More recently, Geneva-based company WeCanExternal link tokenized two properties in Portugal in a €11 million deal, which it plans to repeat across other European countries.

Deeply Read

Most Discussed

News

Amherd and Zelensky

More

Zelensky wants to ‘make history’ at Swiss peace summit

This content was published on While Swiss President Viola Amherd spoke of modest objectives at the two-day Summit on Peace in Ukraine, her Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky was more proactive, saying he wanted to make history.

Read more: Zelensky wants to ‘make history’ at Swiss peace summit
Crowds

More

Women’s strike demos held in several Swiss cities

This content was published on All over Switzerland women took to the streets today: in several cities feminist associations called for demonstrations to assert their rights. Events scheduled for the strike were numerous.

Read more: Women’s strike demos held in several Swiss cities

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI swissinfo.ch certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here . Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at english@swissinfo.ch.

SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR