Overstock Partners with World Bank to Put Property Rights on Blockchain
Nasdaq listed Overstock’s subsidiary, Medici Land Governance has inked a deal with the World Bank to model, build, implement and validate pilot programs which puts land ownership on blockchain.
Overstock explained that lack of property rights documentations in several developing countries act as hurdle to economic growth as there is practically no protection against land grabs, difficulty to prove ownership when businesses apply for credit and lack of adequate information while collecting taxes or for town planning.
The scenario described by Overstock enables fraud and corruption to thrive. Overstock’s own tZero blockchain platform aims to resolve some of the vital issues. Enough details, particularly related to blockchain implementation of ownership rights, are not available.
The website of Medici also contains virtually no information. However, what we understand is that the project is aiming to leverage on blockchain’s tamper-proof characteristic to record documents to prove authenticity.
Commenting on the partnership, Klaus Deininger, Lead Economist at the World Bank, said
“Joining forces with Medici Land Governance allows the Bank to provide our client countries access to cutting edge technology, work with the countries on adapting the technology to their context, and then document the impact of the updated process.”
Patrick Byrne, founder and Chairman of Medici Land Governance, and founder and CEO of its parent company, Overstock, provided the following opinion about the project
“I have long viewed land and property governance as an application of blockchain technology that has far-reaching implications.”
Byrne further stated
“From the positive social change it can foster, to its potential to empower individuals financially, to the promise it holds for the economic development of entire nations, blockchain can help the developing world secure the property rights infrastructure needed to overcome many of its challenges.”
Notably, there are a few more companies involved in similar projects. Bitfury, a Bitcoin mining company, has entered into a partnership with Georgia’s government to utilize distributed ledger technology for protecting property rights. Last year, as many as 100,000 property titles were recorded on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Likewise, Propy, a property platform deployed on the Ethereum blockchain, is worth mentioning here. It should be remembered that the project is in early stages. However, the involvement of the World Bank gives more credibility to the project. Overstock is an early adopter of blockchain technology. The firm started accepting Bitcoin back in 2014.