Georgia is the first country to convert its land register to Blockchain. Sweden has also successfully completed its first pilot. How does land register work on Blockchain?
Georgia is a young democracy with a mortgage on geopolitical insecurity from its aggressive neighbor Russia and a history of state corruption. One of the starting points for illegal state actions are land titles. Who has control over the land title, can also manipulate the ownership of the country itself.
“The economist Hernando de Soto told us that only one third of all people can prove they own their land. Apart from the legal uncertainty, there is $ 20 trillion in dead capital, as land with unexplained legal titles cannot be sold, “explains Marc Taverner of the Blockchain company Bitfury. “So we told him, ‘Find us such a country and we bring the land register to the Blockchain for free. And that was Georgia. “
Blockchain is best known for the crypto-currency Bitcoin, but the land register is an even more useful application for the new technology. More than 300 lawyers are listening. Michael Taverner speaks at the extremely well attended conference Legal Tech of Future Law in Vienna and explains how land register works on Blockchain:
“The Blockchain is like a book. The pages are numbered; the land register entries are immutable. The book is published and all people can see it. Since it is stored in many places at the same time and no single place can control all nodes, one will not be able to convince the world of a fake version of the truth.”
In Georgia, the government realized that it has a trust problem. “Bureaucrats and politicians are referred to as dark shadows that walk in corridors there,” says Taverner. “Blockchain removed the trust problem, because everything is transparent.” Blockchain’s code is the only control. While state employees could still manipulate, all citizens can see it.
“The citizens are happy with that, because corruption is falling. And Georgia is super happy that it can demonstrate transparency. This is also good for international business “, raves Taverner. “There are now 300,000 land titles on Georgia’s Blockchain. So if a neighbor decides to take away Georgia’s land, then the international legal claims will be preserved. Thanks to the Blockchain. “
Georgias Blockchain register covers the sale of land titles, registration of new titles, mortgages, rentals and notary services. “You can now meet the owner on his plot, make the sale, use an app on your mobile phone and have the whole process done in 10 minutes instead of three days”, says Taverner.
Marc Taverner shows, how the process looks like:
On the government side the process is currently done both on the Blockchain and still via database and paper certificate. Says Taverner: “With this we have a roll-back if something happens.” The workflow for the citizen is straight forward:
Also speaking at the Future Law Conference is Mats Snäll, Chief Digital Officer of the Swedish Cadastre Office.
His department has just completed a successful pilot to bring the Swedish land register onto the Blockchain. Now it gets interesting for the attending lawyers at the conference in Vienna, because Sweden has no great need to fight corruption. Mats Snäll has an amazingly future-oriented motivation for Sweden’s principle of wanting to digitize everything:
“In the 1970s, Sweden brought the land register from paper into the computer. So suddenly we did not trust the paper anymore. The Swedes have great faith in their state. But times changes and people do. The younger generations have grown up with cyber security, transparency and digitization. As a state, we must ensure that citizens still trust us tomorrow. Because otherwise they will trust companies like Google and use a future land register app that they are surely working on already. “