29 March 2024

Diving Into The Future - Unveiling Non-Fungible Token's Impact On India's Real Estate

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co


Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co founded on a century of legal achievements, is one of India’s leading full-service law firms. The Firm’s mission is to enable business by providing solutions as trusted advisers through excellence, responsiveness, innovation and collaboration. SAM & Co is known globally for its exceptional practices in mergers & acquisitions, private equity, competition law, insolvency & bankruptcy, dispute resolution, capital markets, banking & finance and projects & infrastructure.
Distinguished by special identification codes and metadata, NFTs represent real-world objects and can be traded for traditional currency or cryptocurrency in online marketplaces
India Real Estate and Construction
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Distinguished by special identification codes and metadata, NFTs represent real-world objects and can be traded for traditional currency or cryptocurrency in online marketplaces

India's real estate industry, bound to conventional practices, is undergoing a transformative shift with the introduction of NFTs. Though the real estate sector has been gradually implementing digitalization for enhanced efficiency and fraud prevention, the integration of NFTs emerges as a strategic evolution. This article explores the significance of NFTs, showcasing its ground breaking impact on ownership, trade, and its growing role in the real estate sector.

NFTs: a digital evolution in real-world representation

In recent years, NFTs have gained enormous popularity as unique digital assets stored on the blockchain. Distinguished by special identification codes and metadata, NFTs represent real-world objects and can be traded for traditional currency or cryptocurrency in online marketplaces. The exclusive use of cryptocurrency for NFT transactions raises concerns regarding the legal status of cryptocurrencies in India.

Legal Framework in India- NFTs and Cryptocurrency

In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a circular, prohibiting regulated entities from participating in cryptocurrency transactions. However, in a1 significant judgement passed in March 2020, the Supreme Court of India struck down the RBI circular that had effectively imposed a ban on virtual currency trading in India. The Court emphasized that the RBI could not restrict cryptocurrency trading without legislative backing, considering it a violation of a citizen's fundamental right to engage in lawful trade.

The Government's efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies with the 2021 Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill have left the legal status uncertain, lacking clear regulations or prohibitions. The 2022 Finance Bill amended tax rules to impose a 30% crypto tax on digital asset holdings and transfers and a 1% tax deducted at the source on each trade for all digital asset transfers.

NFTs as digital property titles in real estate

In the realm of real estate, NFTs serve as digital property titles, facilitating seamless transactions on cryptocurrency marketplaces. Smart contracts, while not new in real estate, play a vital role by storing NFT data and ensuring that sale conditions are fulfilled. Despite the potential cost of handling vast data for valuable assets like real estate on the blockchain, smart contracts connect to specific asset details, providing a secure platform for transactions.

Virtual real estate and NFTs in the metaverse

As the metaverse gains popularity, NFTs representing virtual land have become a trend. The digital landscape holds significant value, with some virtual land plots selling for millions of dollars. Virtual real estate comprises structures or parcels existing in a virtual world. To acquire these virtual properties, one usually needs to buy corresponding NFTs using cryptocurrency, each virtual world having its unique cryptocurrency. NFTs are crucial for confirming ownership and authenticity of virtual property obtained in games or metaverse platforms. They often gain substantial value, sometimes selling for millions.2 The sale of the Mars House, the world's first digital NFT property, illustrates how NFTs, the metaverse, and real estate can come together. As digital assets gain importance in contemporary society, virtual land becomes central for creativity, digital status symbols, and global gathering sites.

NFTs connecting real-world and virtual properties

Specialized platforms facilitate the trading of NFTs connected to real-world properties, signifying ownership and enabling transactions in both physical and virtual real estate. The process involves turning property documents into digital assets through property digitalization, creating NFTs containing legal paperwork, sales data, and technical details. Users connect their crypto wallets to NFT marketplaces for secure storage and transactions, streamlining the buying and selling of properties with the added security and efficiency of blockchain technology.

Transformative Potential: NFTs revolutionizing real estate

The transformative potential of NFTs in real estate lies in its ability to revolutionize the industry. Blockchain technology ensures secure and traceable ownership records, simplifying ownership verification and reducing the risk of fraud. The adoption of NFTs in real estate transactions has the potential to decrease fraud, errors, and risks, eliminating the need for intermediaries and expediting processes, especially in high-value properties where rapid transactions can take advantage of price fluctuations. The transparency and user-friendly nature of NFTs can attract more buyers, particularly first-time investors. NFTs can accelerate the acceptance of fractional ownership in real estate, making it more appealing to the younger generation and broadening retail investor participation.

Challenges and considerations in adopting NFTS in real estate

Introducing NFT-based solutions to real estate faces several challenges. The absence of a comprehensive legal framework raises concerns among potential buyers regarding the legitimacy of digital property ownership. Additionally, tax compliance issues arise due to varying regulations in different countries, notably India's high tax rates on NFT transfers. The crypto market's volatility, where NFTs are frequently traded, poses a risk of sudden drops in value for real estate NFTs, potentially discouraging investors.

Furthermore, older generations, who are often prevalent in commercial real estate ownership, may show less enthusiasm for embracing new technologies compared to their younger counterparts. The possibility of users losing their crypto keys presents a practical issue. Even though real estate NFT marketplaces enhance transaction security, users facing key loss may encounter delays in closing deals.

To navigate these challenges successfully, adopting NFTs should consider a hybrid approach, blending innovative technologies with conventional methods.


The NFT market offers exciting possibilities but is not without its challenges. Valid concerns surrounding copyright, environmental impact, and market speculation need sustainable solutions as NFTs become more widely accepted.

Despite these hurdles, there is undeniable potential for positive change. NFTs possess the capacity to transform ownership rights, ensuring fair compensation for digital creators. Given the rapid growth in digital asset usage, it is imperative for India to take proactive steps in regulating technologies like NFTs and cryptocurrencies. Strengthening the regulatory framework becomes crucial to track the origin and functionality of these digital assets, preventing potential illegal activities such as money laundering.

Originally published in Legal Era, 1 March 2024


1. Internet and Mobile Association of India v. Reserve Bank of India,2020 SCC Online SC 275.

2. LianneKolirin, World's first digital NFT house sells for $500,000, CNN (

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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