Since Covid19, digitalization has converted many manual tasks to digital ones. So it is no surprise that the government sector, which involves immense paperwork, has embraced digital transformation. Similar to how bitcoin was a hot topic a decade ago, blockchain technology is already permeating various industries. Many governments across the globe have adopted a blockchain land registry seeking safe property transfers.
Do you know? The World Bank estimates that more than 70% of people worldwide lack a "legally registered" title to their land, and only one-third of nations worldwide keep digital records of property ownership, which is essential for efficient land management.
"Blockchain for Government Land Records"
Instead of transferring ownership through an application form to the buyer, the concept of smart contracts allows for the automatic updating of the land records. This technology has raised the level of trust between the participants in transactions by automatically implementing and applying the agreement. It also expedites and streamlines administration, improves data security, builds public faith in the government, makes life easier for the general population with better connectivity to the government, and ensures the veracity of land records.
The nature of the work of the blockchain creates a trustworthy platform where users own blocks of the chain.
Blockchain occurs in three stages of the project:
1. Pre-construction: Here, data is gathered, stored, and protected.
2. Construction: In this stage, records and data gathered; are secured and authenticated to avoid hacking.
3. Post-construction: Final alterations are noted in the blockchain model, laying the groundwork for future improvements to the block and a more reliable source of data for safeguarding it.
Why choose Blockchain for the Digitization of Land Records?
Multiple departments, including land, revenue, forest, banking, and others, serve as stakeholders in the existing system of land record transactions. The large number of parties involved in the transactions creates complexity in keeping track of deadlines and SLAs, causing delays in ownership transfers and other transactions. Also, any ledger errors may influence ownership rights. These manually maintained ledgers and papers are readily falsifiable, negatively impacting the ownership and resulting in boundary or land lawsuit conflicts.
The task is complicated when there is no will to divide the property among the deceased owner's heirs. Even if a document is accurate, validating and verifying it during the process is a challenging feat that can take longer than necessary.
Thus, a blockchain-based next-generation end-to-end solution is required to overcome all these issues, ensuring privacy, security, and a tamper-proof platform.
Solutions offered by a decentralized blockchain
- Multiple stakeholders can be on-boarded into the chain to instantly share the data through smart contracts over the private channel as and when necessary.
- The SLA of every department or stakeholder may be readily tracked and made available on a real-time dashboard.
- It is possible to maintain a golden record or ownership database, accessible to authorized users along the chain and used to verify transactions and records.
- This system can detect fraudulent documents by comparing them to the golden database.
- A tamper-proof master source is employed to readily derive dynamic factors such as ownership, mortgage information, litigation status, property tax records, etc.
- Any boundary-related land dispute can be instantly and quickly flagged.
- One can easily and rapidly assist in sanctioning loans secured by real estate or similar properties.
- It will be easier to track the distribution of new land and property.
- Being a tamper-proof and reversible platform, it instantly transfers ownership.
- Once a land allocation or ownership transfer is validated, it is approved on a distributed ledger, where each transaction is signed-off with a digital signature, timestamp, and the user's digital key.
Characteristics of Blockchain for land-records
1. Persistent: The recorded data is preserved permanently and cannot be altered or erased, so there is no chance of corruption.
2. Records with time stamps: Every piece of data input into the system is digitally-recorded on a time basis.
3. Accessible: Users/citizens can access the data records upon consent, by which they can examine the data or add data.
4. Decentralized: As the network is maintained by multiple blocks, with the aid of the private key, any data, including any important paperwork, contracts, etc., may be securely saved and directly controlled.
Applications of Blockchain Technology in Land Records
The land registry is one of the best applications of blockchain technology, which ensures the secure transfer of land properties. Blockchain's transparency makes it possible to track modifications made to land records. In this modern era, employing blockchain technology for land registration is quite advantageous. The fight against the illicit granting of land is helping to lift the underprivileged and marginalized segments of society and provide them with justice with proper proof. Due to the duplicity and inefficiencies in the current land registration system, the land records are not secure, and citizens face the brunt of this. Thousands of people are dealing with similar situations. Thus, with the aid of blockchain technology, all the records can be permanently added and maintained in the decentralized system, which makes them effortlessly accessible and implies that their authenticity is absolute. Hence, it is unalterable, which authorizes the participants to access the data at any time.
Many countries have incorporated Blockchain technology into their land-records management systems, enabling digital records and maintenance of every piece of property owned by the public or private parties.
This paradigm shift took a while to transform all the paper files into a golden database, entering measurement and ownership details of every corner of the country—this was the first step of digitization in government land records.
Here are a few countries that have successfully adopted blockchain technology in their land-record systems.
The United States
Among the top countries- that pioneered this tech for land records, the US takes a vital place as it accomplished the entry of the land records data in less time. The mission was to test real estate transfers using blockchain technology- the South Burlington Clerk Office and blockchain startup Propy Inc. announced their partnership in January 2019 for this project, which helped the city to save funds and cut expenses on the manual recording.
The United Kingdom
On October 1, 2018, the UK's land registry started collaborating with the blockchain-based company Methods.' The complicated land registry issues were made manageable as a result. The "digital street" project addresses the hardships faced by UK land registry experts.
The National Agency of Public Registry (NAPR) of Georgia provides a digital certificate of its assets to its citizens by utilizing blockchain technology, and the cryptographic evidence publicized on the blockchain technology demonstrates this. The project's objective was to give people and governments the best way to guarantee data security, openness, and auditable procedures.
What are Smart Contracts?
A smart contract serves as a formal declaration of ownership and records the property's past. The smart contract concept is used to validate or prove this blockchain technology in the land register. By automatically updating the record-these smart contracts speed up the land tiling process.
If the parties involved in the property transaction had all the necessary information at the appropriate moment, choices could be more swift, resulting in a smoother and transparent process.
The assurance of property ownership is guaranteed with the use of blockchain technology and smart contracts. As transactions take the form of transparent contracts, this technology helps to establish confidence between the parties. It streamlines and organizes the business by enhancing data security and securing the validity of the land records.
The fact that blockchain technology is unalterable is the primary advantage of using public blockchain technology. Consequently, it helps to build confidence between buyers and sellers. Only a few businesses use blockchain in the hybrid land registration process. Both the Registrar and the Notaries, bailiffs, and other parties who send official documents to be recorded in the Land Register may have a role when the current Land Registry system is replaced by using a hybrid blockchain, which is used by the current stakeholders in the chain of real estate transfer.
Benefits of Smart Contract
Speed, efficiency, and precision
The contract is promptly carried out if a condition is satisfied. Smart contracts are digital and automated, so there is no paperwork to complete or time spent fixing mistakes that frequently occur when documents are filled out manually.
Integrity and trust
There is no need to wonder whether information has been changed for one participant's gain because there is no third party involved and participants share encrypted records of transactions.
As blockchain transaction records are encrypted, they are incredibly difficult to hack. Additionally, hackers would need to alter the entire chain to change a single record on a distributed ledger because each history is linked to the records that came before and after it.
Smart contracts do away with the need for middlemen to conduct transactions, along with the costs and wait times that go along with them.
The land registry now uses blockchain technology, an essential part of contemporary society. Blockchain technology improves the accessibility, simplicity, and transparency of the land registry process without the need for authority- this has redesigned the old sector way and promoted justice in property transactions given that many business professionals and governments are investigating and implementing blockchain technology in the land registry ecosystem.