In a bid to bolster property rights, Georgia is pioneering a new system for registering land titles and property transactions, using the same type of blockchain technology that underpins the virtual currency Bitcoin.
Georgian authorities created the system with the assistance of Bitfury, a firm specializing in developing blockchain-based software and hardware. It began a slow rollout in April 2016. So far, about 100,000 land titles have been registered under the program. In addition to registering land ownership, the program intends to handle property transactions, mortgages, demolitions and notary services.
Property disputes have long been an issue in Georgia. Records in many cases are spotty, due in part to the chaos that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, as well as the high level of corruption that plagued Georgia during the early years of independence. In some areas, especially in tourist destinations along the Black Sea coast, it is not unusual for land to be the subject of conflicting claims.
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Inge Snip writes about (social) innovation, startups, and grassroots movements. She hails from the Netherlands, but has lived in Tbilisi on and off since 2007.