Republic of Georgia testing new tools for land ownership and transparency
The lack of transparency and clarity regarding land ownership is a substantial barrier to economic development and wealth creation in many parts of the world, including countries with numerous subsistence and smallholder farmers such as Ghana. Earlier this year, Forbes profiled an initiative in which the Republic of Georgia and the Bitcoin mining company Bitfury were teaming up with economist Hernando de Soto to pilot a new way to register and maintain land titles using blockchain.
In the U.S., E.U. and other developed economies, legal title to property assets is commonplace, but this is not the case for people in many other regions. De Soto, president of Lima-based think tank, the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, estimates that the value of this “dead capital” to be some $20 trillion.
The long-term vision behind the Georgia initiative is that new digital tools such as blockchain can provide a foundation for a transparent system of asset registration and proof of ownership, which would unlock this "dead capital" and enable many in the world's poorest regions to start benefiting from it. If the Georgia pilot project succeeds, blockchain advocates are likely to push for its use to bring new transparency and security to other areas where bureaucratic problems are seen as hindering economic development.
Still, the project is in its early stages -- so the model is yet to be tested. We, and many others, will be following this test case with interest.