A new project piloted in West Africa, called Bitland, is using blockchain technology as a decentralized land registry.
Due to the tamper-resistant nature of distributed ledgers, the project hopes to give the African citizens a better method to survey land and record title deeds using the Bitland blockchain. It will engage with “28 communities in Kumasi, Ghana,” and provide immutable records of ownership to those who normally would have difficulty. The team has released a 22-page white paper describing how they plan to motivate the platform.
Bitcoin.com spoke with the Chief Security Officer for Bitland, Chris Bates, and he gave us some insight into the project that will use blockchain technology to digitize land titles. He explains the native token currency, Cadastrals, and how they come into play with the non-profit organizations goals. The project will plan to update paper storage houses into digital format making outdated registries come alive again and free from corruption.
Bitland: Land Titles on the Blockchain
Bitcoin.com (BC): How did you get involved in the cryptocurrency industry?
Chris Bates (CB): I was intrigued by Bitcoin, but slightly put off by the media associations with Silk Road, so I started looking into it around 2013. When Doge came out, it seemed like a light-hearted community, and I wasn’t as put off by the people who were participating in that, so I started to get actively involved in trying to understand what “crypto” was. Many people will define it by the algorithms, the decentralization, or the “coins”, but in reality, there is no homogeneous “crypto” sphere.
I worked in writing articles about crypto, and also tried to start a couple of businesses that accepted crypto for people to purchase real items, but it was a reality check that at the time, no one in crypto was there to actually USE currency, and it was all a money grab. At that point, I decided to focus on trying to seek out the most promising tech, and further the people who had long-term vision beyond the arbitrage games that have dominated crypto for so long. I have worked for Factom, Synereo, and am currently the Chief Security Officer for Bitland.
This is working to help stamp out rampant corruption so that Ghana will be open to foreign investors that can feel secure about the oversight of the system that will ensure their return.
BC: What is Bitland?
CB: Bitland is an initiative to provide a blockchain based infrastructure to give disenfranchised areas access to register their land or dispute their ownership of land. As well, the goal of the application is to make it so that a person who has registered their property through Bitland would get access to a development microloan request system. Since loans are dependent upon being able to track a loan recipient to a residence of responsibility, having newly registered lands opens up the opportunity for new investment. In that regard, the project has to be unbiased so that it represents the locals, and doesn’t allow any government officials to corrupt the process.
BC: How is Bitland working with blockchain technology and land registration in Ghana?
CB: Since part of the problem in Ghana is corrupt officials or chiefs changing records or unjustly distributing land, having a public ledger becomes an objective way to keep track of changes. Since the blockchain entries will be immutable, it will not be possible for any official or individual to change records in favor of any party. This is working to help stamp out rampant corruption so that Ghana will be open to foreign investors that can feel secure about the oversight of the system that will ensure their return.
BC: How are you working with the OpenLedger project?
CB: OpenLedger serves as the exchange that will host our token, and as well their team is helping us build the voting system for the Bitland Reserve. Since part of our system requires consensus about what to do with the reserve fund, we are working with them to make sure the system has all the proper elements to be fair and prevent deadlocked votes.
BC: How does the token Cadastrals work?
CB: Cadastrals will be the de facto token of the Bitland Network. Any time a proposal for usage of reserve funds is put forward, or a private proposal is entered by an Agenda Champion, Cadastrals will be the currency in which the transaction takes place, so all those transactions register to the Cadastral chain.
The mission of Bitland is to use Blockchain Technology to unlock land capital around the world that is currently unusable due to not being registered. In the process, we want to help the disenfranchised get representation that protects them from a corrupt government.
BC: Can you tell our readers about the proposed voting platform?
CB: Yes, the voting platform will have multiple areas of voting. This means that there will be periodic agendas for deciding what to do with Bitland Reserve. Agenda Champions will be the person who puts forth an agenda, and in the process, there will be a limited number of agendas that are allowed per period. A reputation system will allow voters to rank Agenda Champions so that a person who puts forth many good agendas gets a good reputation and a person who puts forth many agendas that get turned down gets negative reputation.
These things will not affect a Champion’s capacity to put forth agendas. However, it is a mechanism to allow users to voice within the community to decide who has been helping the community agenda most, without affecting the capacity for anyone to put forth a new agenda. The Champion’s rating will result in higher pay for the more successful Champions, but will not affect anyone’s capacity to put forth agenda.
In addition to the reserve voting system, we are trying to establish a system that will allow small groups to decide what to do with a pool of their funds. This is relevant to development contracts, as in the process of working out development contracts, if multiple investors need to make a decision, but are not in the same geographic location, a small private vote can be held.
The voting system is also working to have a built in ombudsperson system, so that people within the community will be dedicated blind ombudsperson to break tie votes. In the case of a tie vote, the ombudsperson will be presented with information about the important elements of a decision, but party identities will be hidden on both sides, making it a double blind process. The voters will not know the identity of the Ombudsperson, and the Ombudsperson will not know the identities of any voters or any information that may inform Ombudsperson of identity.
BC: How is the crowdsale going?
CB: The crowdsale is going great! We have had many contributors, and they are still contributing! The sale ends the 1st of June, so we will know what the final tally is by then.
BC: Does Bitland plan to expand to other regions in the world in the future?
CB: Yes, we are already in discussions to move into different countries to test different aspects of the system, and get multiple use case studies. With every project of large scope, field testing must be done to make sure that the system scales properly BEFORE the scaling happens, so we are trying to build a working system before we get too far ahead of ourselves.
BC: What is the overall mission of Bitland?
CB: The mission of Bitland is to use Blockchain Technology to unlock land capital around the world that is currently unusable due to not being registered. In the process, we want to help the disenfranchised get representation that protects them from a corrupt government. Creating a transparent system of tracking land titles solves one of the biggest problems globally that not only prevents those in poor countries from developing their lands, but also land disputes are one of the leading global causes of violence and violent conflict.
We are trying to do something that is at the core humanitarian, but we understand that people need the incentive to act. We are trying to find the middle road, and establish a system where everyone wins if they just stop trying to take advantage of the lowest person on the totem pole.
Bitand is trying to put the blockchain into the real world, and put the real world into the blockchain.
Thanks, Chris, for speaking with us here at Bitcoin.com. Good luck with your project!
What do you think about the Bitland project? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Chris Bates, Bitland, and Pixabay.