Anyone that has ever purchased a home or a vehicle knows how much of a pain it is. Blockchain could make this process easy and instant
Property Records Using Blockchain
Blockchain supports far more than cryptocurrency transactions. One of its greatest potential benefits for countless numbers of industries is facilitating paperless title transfers.
One of the most talked about uses for Blockchain is maintaining property records. The most common types of property records include deeds, mortgages, court orders and leases.
Most governments and industries still keep track of land and asset ownership using antiquated methods. When purchasing property or a vehicle, the current owner signs a title document over to the new owner. This often involves courier services, mailing documents and requires people to meet in person to conduct transactions.
There are several disadvantages to managing property records this way: Time elapsed between required actions, tampering and security issues and accrued expenses. Recently, there’s been an increase in fraudulent check deposits and identity theft due to interception of important documents by criminals in the mail. This creates all the more reason to go paperless for crucial transactions.
A Paperless Economy
While paper will probably never go extinct, Blockchain will certainly help diminish the use of paper documents. In the transportation world, paper bills of lading and commercial documents will slowly go away as peer-to-peer computing becomes the norm.
With property records, information can be stored in tamper-proof blocks in the Blockchain that remain transparent to involved parties throughout the lifecycle of an asset. When signatories exchange “documents”, unique mathematical keys will serve as secure signatures in the transaction. This will help drive out the need to use physical documents reducing environmental waste and security threats. Transactions can also be executed in real-time helping increase efficiency and revenue into the economy.
In a previous article, we discussed how Blockchain might serve as a “Carfax” for fleet owners and operators. Carfax provides a detailed history of a car’s lifespan including everything from service appointments to major crashes.
Creating, modifying and storing vehicle records on Blockchain offers several benefits. Digital storage prevents loss, damage or tampering that physical documents remain vulnerable to. It also makes it easier for involved parties to update maintenance records that are crucial for government agency audits or the sale of the vehicle.
Quartz recently published an article outlining Sweden’s plan to move property records to Blockchain. Sweden’s land registry is already mostly digital, and the Swedes are taking Blockchain technology seriously. The Swedish government estimates that recording property transactions on Blockchain will help save the country over 100 million Euros per year through the reduction of fees and fraud.
Title transfers in Sweden are executed and recorded in a private Blockchain system. This allows the government to maintain some control over the land registry. One of the major obstacles the Quartz article mentions is the verification of digital signatures. So far, the Blockchain land registry’s migration is still considered an experiment but the Swedish government hopes that when successful, other agencies will also move to Blockchain.
Wealthy, industrialized nations like Sweden are not the only ones exploring Blockchain uses for property records. Countries like Ghana, Haiti and Ukraine also see the potential for digitizing the real estate industry. After Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010, lots of property related documents went missing or were destroyed in the rubble. This has only worsened its already corrupt and inefficient land registry system. Blockchain could potentially help mitigate the headaches associated with title ownership in a country plagued by turmoil.