In 2010 Haiti was hit with a 7.0-magnitude quake that leveled much of the capital Port-au-Prince and left 1.5 million Haitians homeless. In the chaos of the aftermath, international agencies relocated homeless families to undeveloped and empty land 10 miles north of the capital. Within months thousands more claimed plots and started rebuilding homes without true legal title to the land.
This would expose a serious problem for Haiti.
Without a system or registry of land tenure the disputes piled up as people began returning to their land only to find that others had claimed it. With no proof of ownership, it was impossible for these disputes to be settled and those who previously owned land were now having to forfeit their rights as landowners. Furthermore, this made it difficult for Haiti to receive aid as donors did not have assurance as to whether they were helping the rightful landowners or not.
Disputes over land tenure are not unique to Haïti. In India, about one-third of the 11 million civil cases pending in courts involve disputes over property ownership. According to the World Bank , 70% of the world’s population lacks access to land titling.
Even the United States of America’s system is subject to vulnerabilities. US title registry relies on stacks of paper documents requiring hand signatures and manual input from intermediaries. The intermediaries who often make mistakes in recording data. The overall system is outdated and lacks security, verification, protection and trust.
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Three reasons you need an effective property and land registry system
Registered property and documented ownership of land is necessary to protect ownership rights and support investment, productivity and growth. Along with cadaster and surveying systems, land registries are needed to prove and secure property and use rights. Land registry systems are part of the land information ecosystem an detrimental to a growing and peaceful economy. The benefits of land registration extend from the citizens to governments.
Institutions need reliable information in land registries for matters such as assessing and collecting taxes adequately. Other benefits include the efficient provision of services and infrastructure. As well as help in facilitating the expansion of urban areas and assist city planning to avoid or mitigate the effects of environmental or climate-related risks to urban populations. Authenticity, security and trust is absolutely pertinent to the efficiency of title registries, however there are still many obstacles within the current registry system.
1. Reducing or eliminating time delays
Currently the application process with Land Registry in the US can take up to 16 weeks to complete. During this gap legal problems can arise. Delays in processing documents by the Land Registry can have far-reaching consequences, especially in real estate transactions creating stress and headaches for everyone involved. One of the most important parts of the home buying and selling process is conveyancing — the legal act of transferring home ownership from the seller to the buyer. If document retrieval is delayed during this process you may have to cancel the conveyance altogether.
2. Stopping fraud and real estate scams
The real estate industry is extremely profitable. Big money and big opportunities. This can attract criminals who use creative ways to expose vulnerabilities in the title registry system and scam victims all over the world, whether buyers, sellers or realtors. One of the most notorious scams involves title fraud.
Scammers will fabricate documents to make it look like they are the property owner. They use these fraudulent documents to take out a new mortgage on a property. With a secured loan, the scammer can take the cash and leaving the real owner with the remaining payments and a legal battle. This can be prevented by using GoChain’s tamper proof system for title registry.
3. Preventing human error and improving document management
State governments are responsible for creating and managing public documents such as property documents, deeds and titles. Unfortunately, those in charge of these important records are only human so mistakes are inevitable. Records can have mistakes such as name misspellings, wrong addresses, or misinformation including the use of incorrect social security numbers. Most public record discrepancies are harmless, but on property records, they can affect the sale and purchase of a home, causing delays and sometimes completely canceling the sale or purchase of property.
How GoChain’s blockchain is evolving the way property is registered
GoChain’s blockchain-based registry not only provides the solutions mentioned above, but satisfies the requirements of an effective registry system without the high ticket price of building a custom blockchain.
GoChain’s registry reduces and eliminates time delays by tracking property titles, verifying ownership, and keeping a record of all transactions in real time. There would no longer be a registration gap of weeks or months. Equally, blockchain technology could enable title to the property to be transferred to the buyer immediately funds are received into the seller’s solicitor’s account. The process of buying and selling a home should be painless and fast
GoChain’s registry eliminates fraud and scams by ensuring the authenticity of title documents as each transaction on the blockchain is verified with mathematical proof. GoChain’s decentralized network of high reputation network validators including Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) ensures the added advantage of a secure, tamper-proof ledger system for data management. Once a document is added to the registry, it can never be hacked or edited by a bad actor.
GoChain’s registry significantly decreases the risk of human error by offering a digitized system with immutable transactions. Each change and update to the registry is continually examined and verified on the network — No changes or transaction can take place without 100% verification of its authenticity. Using blockchain ensures an interoperable title registry and the potential to make investing, transacting and leasing real estate more efficient and more transparent.
“As for the benefit of a blockchain-based land registry, look to Haiti. There are still people fighting over whose land is whose. When disaster struck, all of their records were on paper, that being if they were written down at all.” — Elliot Hedman, Chief Operating Officer of Bitland Global
Adoption of blockchain for land registration has begun in many countries including the Ukraine, Georgia, Sweden and Dubai. The Dubai Land Department has announced the implementation of a blockchain system to record all real estate contracts. Additionally, the platform will record updates that occur after a property sale such as recording liquidation and payment defaults or changes to the mortgages. This also incorporates the management of personal tenant databases, including identity cards and residency visas, and allows payments to be made electronically directly between transaction participants.
Build the next generation of title registries on chain
Blockchain technology is being implemented world wide for use in land registration due to its ability to manage financial transactions, asset transfers and regulatory obligations. GoChain is leading the way with blockchain to provide the next generation of immutable and automated registry systems.
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