Of blockchain and the Georgian experience
Blockchain has been a buzzword in the recent past. It has been much touted as the next disruptive technology to the hierarchy and centralized control as the internet did when it broke into the human civilization. Blockchain may not yet deserve the past tense but venture capitalists are pouring billions of dollars into blockchain-tagged startups and it is vouched to be the next big thing.
As blockchain based transactions are gaining momentum beyond Bitcoin, healthcare databases, supply chain, banking, money transfers and payment. And given the recent announcement on Friday last week during the closure of a one-week training of Ministry staff at the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) by Cabinet Secretary for Lands and Physical Planning in Kenya-Farida Karoney that the land registry shall be automated by the end of 2022, monitoring of possible technological trends is core at our firm. Today we explore a government sanctioned land registry process at Georgia to underscore the inevitability of this technology in future.
In 2016, the Republic of Georgia launched the registration of land titles via a private blockchain. It partnered with the blockchain hardware and software company BitFury through the National Agency of Public Registry (NAPR). Underpinned by a quest to strengthen property owners’ rights, enhance citizens’ trust in government and reinforce data security. It was the first time for a national government to use blockchain to secure and validate official actions and it further signed a new memorandum of understanding to expand the service to purchases and sales of land titles, registration of new land titles, demolition of property, mortgages, and rentals, as well as notary services.
How is blockchain secure?
How is blockchain secure? Data on blockchains can be made private or public. In the Georgian practical experience, the details of the real estate transactions are placed on a private blockchain network run by known computers, and then, in order for citizens to verify the authenticity of certificates, that data is turned into a cryptographic “hash” that are made public on the blockchain which is run by thousands of computers worldwide. The hash is a type of digital fingerprint that enables anyone to verify that the data matches what’s on the blockchain without seeing the data itself. Put simply, the data can’t be changed once it has been entered in the system.
It is a truism that possessing a land title in Kenya does not necessarily guarantee ownership because fraudsters in cahoots with land officials have been known to alter land records. Inauthentic and fake land titles have flooded the country. In fact, there is no way of quickly verifying if the land title you are looking at is a true and correct document currently. And with graphical editing tools readily available, editing a document has never been easier.
In a blockchain-based ledger, records are time-stamped, as are subsequent changes to those records.
From the Georgian experience, there’s enhanced security in the system and we know there’s no central point of failure in blockchain technology. In a blockchain-based ledger, records are time-stamped, as are subsequent changes to those records. This would allow enabling people interested in a specific property to see and verify the date of past transactions on their client interfaces. Laura Shin, a pundit in this subject clarifies that the technology is tamper proof in her February 7, 2017 Forbes Magazine article, thus: “the ledger is distributed among many computers, so a would-be hacker would need to simultaneously attack at least 51% of the network in order to fraudulently alter records”.
Similarly, being a team of vibrant professionals who are always on overdrive in as far as learning new things beneficial to humanity is concerned, every piece of information in crucial transactions at our firm including contracts and wills are secured through Blockchain and readily-accessible to our clients. We have developed a revolutionary foolproof solution similar to the Georgian blockchain land-registry system that involves embedding a QR code on documents and crucial paper works with a unique digital hash inside the QR code. This enables us to unravel the authenticity of the document on whether it emanates from our firm in case of arising disputes.
It cannot be gainsaid that we anticipate more blockchain transactions in government and private businesses will effectively fuel massive economic growth in the 21st century.
Besides safeguarding the integrity of business transactions; security; eliminating manipulation and interference from intermediaries as well as government administrators, the window of transparency in the blockchain system is projected to bolster property owners’ confidence to leverage their properties as a vital asset for investment. It cannot be gainsaid that we anticipate more blockchain transactions in government and private businesses will effectively fuel massive economic growth in the 21st century. To this end, we expect nothing lesser than blockchain technology in the awaited lands registries automation in Kenya. Why not?
This News alert is provided for general information purposes only; the opinions expressed and arguments employed herein are of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views of Kubwa & Co Advocates. Be sure to seek specific legal advice on the subject matter. If you have any query regarding the same, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org; or email@example.com
Yuvenalis Kubwa is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a member of the Law Society of Kenya.