Bitland is introducing a digital Land Registry system that is to be initially rolled out in Ghana where approximately 78% of land is registered.
Bitland is a US based platform for real estate registration and it’s hoped its database will be useful in countries where there is currently no real system of land ownership. It should help landowners who need to obtain loans for property investment or where land is in dispute. According to the company, it will be able to securely record real estate transactions using GPS coordinates, satellite photographs and written descriptions. This should help secure property rights and there is to be a public ledger attached to the Bitcoin Blockchain, which is the technology underpinning Bitcoin. According to the article in afkinsider.com, Blockchain is able to function as a powerful decentralized ledger. It is able to securely record and store transactions on a global network that is very safe.
The reason Ghana has been chosen for this pilot project is that the country has been trying for the last 17 years to solve land dispute problems but the public sector is riddled with corruption making it very hard to consolidate land claims. With Bitland, land titles will be registered to a public Blockchain, ensuring ownership is public and undisputable. In this environment the land could be used as equity as at the moment no banks can lend against unregistered land. Additionally, being able to clarify land ownership rights would provide access to trillions of dollars of capital as currently land that doesn’t have a title cannot be used as capital and cannot be used to secure a mortgage or to purchase homes.
Currently about 90% of land in rural Africa is unregistered or undocumented. This does mean that property fraud is rife due to the lack of a single ledger. The plan is to build solar powered Bitland centres in Ghana to act as hardware hubs for the Wi-Fi network, protecting it from power outages. This will also enable locals to learn about the project and the benefits of digital solutions.
Land registration isn’t the only potential use as the British Commonwealth has already announced it plans to develop a Blockchain app in order to fight cross-border crime. The app will be able to provide a secure messaging system, helping law enforcement. The UN is also looking into way of using distributed ledger technology in order to provide identities for approximately 1.5 billion people who do not have access to proof of their legal identity.