Blockchain enthusiasts often talk about the benefits of blockchain technology in real estate investing, but few have put their money where their mouth is. Martel Invest is an exception, appearing as one of the first blockchain real estate investment firms available to investors in the United States.
If you want to own a tokenized piece of a real estate investment fund, you should know about Martel Invest. Here’s how it works to help you decide if it makes sense for your investment goals.
About Martel Invest
Martel Invest is a real estate investment product that combines features of real estate investment funds with blockchain technology. The result works much like a real estate investment trust (REIT) or diversified real estate investment fund but is tied to the same cryptocurrency wallet as Ethereum and other ERC-20 tokens.
Investors can buy Martel Tokens starting at $50. Each token represents a share of the Martel Invest real estate fund. Martel Invest buys rental properties for long-term ownership. The company targets 12% returns from a combination of cash flow from rents and asset appreciation.
The company gets its name from co-founders Eric Martel and Antoine Martel. The initial Martel Invest fund is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is available to accredited investors only. The company anticipates opening to all investors (including non-accredited investors) in late 2022.
Martel Invest Features
Martel Invest is launching with a single real estate fund. Any accredited investor can buy into the fund starting at $50. The initial offering (ICO) for Martel Invest values tokens at $50 each. As the value of Martel’s holdings and business ebbs and flows, the token's value should rise and fall in value, similar to a share of stock.
Tokens must be held in an ERC-20 compatible wallet, which supports ether and other Ethereum-based assets. A hardware wallet like Ledger or Trezor, with additional security features over an always-connected “hot wallet,” could be a good idea.
Ideally, Martel Invest tokens should be liquid and available to trade on a variety of exchanges, but there’s no guarantee. That’s a big risk of this investment versus a traditionally listed REIT.
Investors receive access to financial statements and unaudited monthly reports. Profit distributions are paid to the wallet holding the Martel Invest ERC-20 token in the form of USDC or USDT.
Overall, it’s an innovative use of blockchain technology, showing what the future of the real estate and even the stock market could look like. If the company performs as advertised, it could be a good investment and a fun way to expand your blockchain asset holdings.
Martel Invest Pricing & Fees
Pricing and fees are not transparent, a major downside of Martel Invest. We reached out multiple times and did not receive a response.
Martel Invest Alternatives
The tokenized real estate industry is very new. You can find a few competitors if you hunt around. Here are some Martel Invest alternatives to know about:
HoneyBricks: HoneyBricks is a tokenized real estate investment platform powered by the Polygon network. It's registered and compliant with the SEC and uses USDC for distributions. It’s open to accredited investors or non-U.S. residents. Each token is tied to a specific property rather than a fund with multiple properties on this platform.
Fundrise: Fundrise is a real estate investment platform where any investor, including non-accredited investors, can buy into long-term real estate investment funds. It’s not tokenized, but it works somewhat similarly to Martel Invest. It’s an older company with more than 400,000 investing clients and over $7 billion in real estate investments.
Account Opening Process
With only a single product, opening an account doesn’t require a lot of questions or decisions. You can start with an email and password or connect to a Google account. Then, you’ll have to enter standard contact and investor information to prove your identity and accredited investor status.
If you are computer savvy, the signup process is quick and easy and should take less than 10 minutes.
Safety & Security
Martel Invest has a very short track record on security, but it’s a good one so far. There are no reports of any security issues or problems with Martel Invest.
As with all financial accounts, it’s critical to use unique passwords that are not shared with any other site. Also, ensure you know how to use your cryptocurrency wallet with a security-forward mindset to keep yourself safe online.
The Martel Invest fund is brand new, so there’s no track record for customer service. Discussions on the popular real estate forum Bigger Pockets indicate the company operates on the up-and-up and offers good service to investors.
In our attempts to contact them regarding fees, we couldn't get a response.
The Bottom Line
Martel Invest is an early entrant for tokenized real estate products amid a small field of competitors. It could be a solid addition to your portfolio if all goes as planned and advertised. However, such a new offering is a risky proposition. If you understand what you’re buying and know the risks, Martel Invest could be a profitable investment.
Eric Rosenberg is a financial writer, speaker, and consultant based in Ventura, California. He holds an undergraduate finance degree from the University of Colorado and an MBA in finance from the University of Denver. After working as a bank manager and then nearly a decade in corporate finance and accounting, Eric left the corporate world for full-time online self-employment. His work has been featured in online publications including Business Insider, Nerdwallet, Investopedia, The Balance, HuffPo, Investor Junkie, and other fine financial blogs and publications. When away from the computer, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, traveling the world, and tinkering with technology. Connect with him and learn more at EricRosenberg.com.