The Future of Land Registries under Blockchain Technology

September 8, 2016

For any kind of a high­value property (real estate, cars, art) it is important to have accurate records which identify the current owner and provide a proof that he is indeed the owner. These records can be used to; protect owners’ rights (e.g. in case of theft), resolve disputes, make sure ownership is correctly transferred to a new owner after sale prevent sale fraud.

Land title record-keeping process. Advancements here could prove particularly valuable in many parts of the world where people are unable to secure legal documentation of their land assets. Digital documentation of property transfers and good technology will enable the confirmation for all parties in a real estate transaction (with) the highest level of security,

Smart contracts for land registration

Registration information has long been used to show evidence of land ownership, possession and claims. These registries are tasked with accurate record-keeping so that rightful owners can be identified and fraud can be prevented when land transactions occur.

Traditionally, landowners have had to rely on third-party intermediaries such as government agencies to manage land registration information. With the development of blockchain technology, however, its transparent and secure online ledger system is able to bring greater efficiency  to the land title record-keeping process.

Instead of privatising the registry,blockchain  smart contracts for the country’s land registry shall be a better option to ensure cheap and efficient service for end-users, while safeguarding the public interest, transparency, impartiality and accountability.

The blockchain technology works by creating permanent, public “ledgers” of all transactions that could potentially replace complicated systems such as clearing and settlement with one simple database.

The plan is to put real estate transactions on blockchain once the buyer and seller agree on a deal and a contract is made.From there all the parties involved in the transactions — the banks, the government, brokers, buyers, and sellers — are able to track the progress of the deal once it is completed.

Incorporating blockchain technology in land registries is not new. The Republic of Georgia and  Honduras have been conducting such experiments in recent years, while Sweden is the first advanced western country to take steps in this direction.

Smart land registration process under blockchain.

The blockchain removes the need for a trusted third party to verify a transaction (e.g a notary). By being a database that contains the history of any transaction made, it provides proof of who owns what at any given moment.

This distributed ledger is replicated on thousands of computers around the world and is publicly available. In the Swedish case, the blockchain verifies the correctness of Land Registry documents and the rules and order of authorisation with a technology for storing digital fingerprints. The fingerprints are unique for every document, register and process step; and so are as effective a means of verification as a human fingerprint.

The manifold benefits of Land Registry powered by blockchain tech:

·         Reduced costs: A blockchain would provide a way of combining many processes and systems into one. This would increase efficiency through distributed processing, and thus reduce costs. The costs involved in developing a trial blockchain based system are “tiny”, compared to the underlying savings that could be made.

·         Efficiency: By having a blockchain-powered registry, it would be possible to conduct real-time audits and speed up settlements. It will reduce the friction in registration, too, because people could do this using their smart phones in the future, just like a notary service.

·         Transparency: The Times recently revealed  that – rather embarrassingly – all the prospective buyers of the Land Registry are linked with offshore firms. Registering information on blockchain’s peer-to-peer distributed ledger system would mean that such information is publicly available.

·         Long term investment: Privatising the Land Registry has lasting implications. The long-term value of data as infrastructure for the economy, comparing it to a country’s road and bridges.

·         With blockchain, responsibilities can be split by allowing different parties to specialise in different parts of a complex set-up.

·         The blockchain-centric system also can mitigate potential failures including fraud, errors and attacks through the use of cryptographic protocol.

The introduction of blockchain could help the public sector decentralise services in a way that protects people’s identity and delivers more efficient service. When an exchange is made, it would be possible to know that a certain land asset had certifiably transferred. If you are keen to learn more about Blockchain potentials, Anglo African team will be pleased to provide you further details, contact us on 2331636 or by e-mail at

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