Land ownership is one of the cornerstones of the economy, but in many countries legacy land registers are subject to corruption and manipulation, which often affects most vulnerable people living in rural areas. Blockchain can fix this ?
✒️ This week the government of Colombia made a move towards more reliable land ownership, announcing a blockchain-based land registry system. Developed with the help of Spanish software company Peersyst Technology and Ripple, the solution will allow the Colombian National Land Registry to issue digital certificates and register them on XRP Ledger, Ripple’s blockchain. The certificates’ authenticity could be easily verifiable with a QR code.
The solution, aimed at increasing Colombians’ trust in the government, is a part of a bigger “digital state” project, exploring the ways the blockchain can be used at the service of the public sector.
✒️ This is not the first time blockchain helped secure land ownership.
Dutch company Bitfury has already developed a software registering land-related transactions on its private blockchain and then sending their hash to the Bitcoin blockchain. The solution has been used in Georgia and Ukraine since 2017.
✒️ A Ghanian startup BenBen is exploring similar ways of creating more transparent land transaction environment, combining IPFS storage capacity with Bitcoin immutability.
✒️ Other countries, like the UAE and the UK, have also launched pilots integrating their land registries with the blockchain. However, they chose private blockchains (Hyperledger and R3, respectively), which arguably can be subject to manipulation as much as off-chain registries.
⛓️ Being decentralized, the (public) blockchain is the ultimate certification tool: once registered within a block, the data stays there (unless the whole blockchain community decides to rewrite the blockchain from the preceding block… but of course this won’t happen for a land fraud). The blockchain can thus help put an end to land cadastre raiderships, corrupted officials changing records, and unlawful land seizures.
We do hope Colombia makes good use of it.