Can DAOs purchase and sell physical properties?
From a practical point of view, this is related to the question whether the DAO can own
properties, as it is rather unlikely that a DAO closes a purchase contract regarding a property without being its owner unless it acts on another’s behalf. Even though this may occur in practice, such deals tend to fail from a legal perspective.
Regardless of the ownership of the property, in order to enter into a purchase contract the
DAO must be able to be subject to civil law obligations and to exercise civil law rights. This is
the case when the DAO can be regarded as a legal entity under civil law. This depends on
the structure of the respective DAO, mainly on the relationship between its members.
According to German law, a DAO may qualify as a company, in particular as a civil law
partnership (Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts – GbR) or under certain circumstances as a
general partnership (offene Handelsgesellschaft – OHG). In current legal practice, other
legal forms are rather unlikely to be relevant for DAOs.
Regarding real estate property, the DAO must be registrable with the Land Registry
(Grundbuch). Regarding the registration with the Land Registry, the DAO must be compliant
with the Land Registration Code Implementing Regulation (Verordnung zur Durchführung
der Grundbuchordnung – GBV). This is in particular the case if the DAO qualifies as a
company, e.g. as a GbR or an OHG, as companies can explicitly be registered with the Land
Registry (see § 15 GBV).