Blockchain could be coming to Brazils Land Registry
This paper has reviewed a solution designed to record transfers of land ownership in the Municipality of Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and assessed it using an archival science theoretic lens, since archival criteria for trustworthy records closely aligns to legal requirements for determining admissibility and weight of evidence and legal status of titles and given the requirements for long-term trustworthiness and accessibility of land title records. Thus, archival requirements offer a useful checklist for those considering blockchains for land transaction record keeping. Though the potential benefits of applying blockchain technology in land registration are great – improved efficiency, reduced transactional friction, better security, etc. – it is fair to say that, at this point in time, there are many aspects of the solution that need further examination and, possibly, (re)design from an archival perspective. This finding runs counter to some arguments that the application of blockchains in land transaction record keeping are best suited to data archiving.63
Attention is due to the technology’s impact upon long-term availability and evidential quality of blockchain records. A reduction in evidential quality or loss of access to blockchain records may have a significant negative impact upon transparency and public accountability, and deprive individuals of their entitlement to land. Changes to the legal, administrative and procedural rules may be needed in order for such systems to work effectively.
These challenges are only to be expected when the technology is so new, and still evolving, and where the solutions are still at very early stages of design and piloting. The aim of raising these issues is not to put off potential adopters of blockchain land transaction recording systems; rather, the hope is these findings can be used to further develop potential blockchain solutions as the real estate registry office further pilot tests blockchain land transaction recording.
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John Dean Markunas