Blockchain to ensure land and property rights

The blockchain revolution keeps gaining ground worldwide. Offices in developing countries are deploying the technology to upgrade land registry systems and ensure legal compliance over property rights.

The adoption of blockchain indicates that societies are turning to alternative protocols and embracing more decentralised governances in various sectors. Among the many setbacks in developing economies is the lack of proper property registration systems. Most of the existing systems are old-fashioned and inefficient, so lack credibility to ensure legal compliance.

Land disputes are common and very often hurt the most financially vulnerable because without any legal documentation, poorer families have little resources and government support to protect their properties.

Even in otherwise legally protected territories, there can be abuse of power and lack of accountability. In the Amazon rainforest, illicit land grabbers have used fake identification to exploit local resources.

Land and farming is an important means of production and source of income for many families in the global south. The 'dead capital' which is lost due to undocumented properties is estimated at US$20 trillion around the world.

In Ghana, 78% of land is not officially registered, and in Brazil, there is no central registry for properties; these are managed instead by more than 3,000 private registry agents.

Blockchain-based systems are indeed feasible solutions for such issues. Authorities in countries in Latin America, including Brazil and Honduras have partnered with blockchain developers to introduce innovative measures to manage property rights.

Early this month, the government of Bermuda launched the Land Title Registry Office, which is working to move all deeds into electronic format.

Blockchain networks are helpful because they can include all kinds of data to make documents more accurate and safe, including geographical boundaries or serial numbers, and an owner’s identity.

Land and environmental protection can benefit greatly from blockchain-based systems and enhance results for developing initiatives set by international bodies.

International trade expert Leonardo Gonzalez Dellán argues that developing states “need to persevere with the technology, follow the lead of the UN Development Programme and become early adopters of this groundbreaking new way of protecting citizens and enhancing economic opportunity.”