Blockchain in Action: Lifting Out of Poverty

Welcome to the seventh article in the PYMNTS Blockchain in Action series.

Most people at least know that blockchain is the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but a digital ledger that timestamps and orders transactions in an immutable and easily traceable way has many more uses.

See also: Crypto Basics Series: What is a blockchain and how does it work?

In this article in the Blockchain in Action series, we’ll look at how distributed ledger technology can make the massive, multi-headed insurance business faster, smarter, and more accurate.

Blockchain in action: how to track anything in real time

Blockchain in action: Combined with IoT, Blockchain can fight COVID

Blockchain in action: creating a private, inviolable and trustworthy digital identity

Blockchain in Action: TradeLens Connects Shipping, Customs, and Trade Finance

Blockchain in Action: Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Blockchains Are a Matter of Life and Death

Blockchain in Action: Taming Complexity and Costs in the Insurance Business

It is said that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes, both of which require extensive use of government records.

That is what we are going to see in this article.

You are born, you get a birth certificate. You die, someone gets a death certificate on you.

And there’s paperwork for just about everything in between: social security numbers, school records, driver’s licenses and other types of ID, taxes, voter registration, college degrees or business licenses, car insurance, marriage certificates, etc. Title deeds to land and homes, parents’ version of birth certificates and school records, Social Security and Medicare taxes, Social Security and Medicare payments…

If any of those records are neglected, or have an error, or are filed incorrectly, you suffer, in ways that range from long waits in lines and waiting, to being banned from doing something like driving, fines, or even jail time.

This is where we come to the blockchain.

Blockchains have a number of features that make them very useful for governments. For one thing, they are immutable, meaning that once they are written to a blockchain, they cannot be changed, but they can be updated. They’re also easy to search and store across many virtual sites: every node in a blockchain has a complete copy of what’s on it, and every node in the chain must agree.

See more: PYMNTS Crypto Basics Series: What is a Consensus Mechanism?

As a security measure, blockchains like Ethereum and its competitors can be configured to limit access to some data through encryption and the use of smart contracts. In addition, private or “permissioned” blockchains can be built.

Also read: Crypto Basics Series: What is a permissioned blockchain and how does centralized decentralization work?

There are some things that only the right people should be able to look for. Health records are a prime example, but police files, for example, must be kept confidential.

You can put them together easily enough to see what it can be like to be able to check the records easily and quickly. In New York, firearms licenses require not only a criminal background check, but also a search of the Department of Mental Health to verify records of a past or present mental health issue that could prevent someone from obtaining a gun. . In addition to being able to verify quickly, a blockchain-based system could limit the license issuer’s access to those records to only if there is a gun permit application in the system, and only to that person.

That’s a bigger problem than it seems. Public trust in government is at an all-time low, the Pew Research Center said. On a Monday (June 6) Articlesaid it found that only 22% of the American public trusts the government to do the right thing most of the time.

However, governments are slow to adopt new technologies. One of the first places blockchain has found its way into is land ownership registries.

immutable ownership of the land

The Republic of Georgia has put land titles on a blockchain, allowing citizens to search and verify ownership of a property from their smartphones.

And that? If he ever bought a house, do you remember the money the bank made him spend on a title search? The mortgage company doesn’t want to be surprised to find out that the person who sold it to the person selling it to you didn’t actually own the land your house is built on.

This idea is behind a project by Virginia’s Wise County to bring its property records to a blockchain, building a 40-year-deep “smart land record,” according to local Cardinal News. reported in March. In addition to saving the time and cost of a title search, “banks require that just to make sure you have a good title, [so] that they can take your property as collateral in case you default and they can foreclose without anything unexpected,” said April Huff, deputy chief clerk of the Wise County Circuit Court.

However, there is more to it than that. In developing countries, many poor people cannot prove that they have legal title to land that they have held for generations. As early as 2019, the World Bank was investigating the use of blockchain in this capacity.

“Many countries don’t even have a general ledger, and even for those that do, property records are often vulnerable to inconsistencies, as well as issues like tampering, damage and loss.” according to World Bank economist Sebastian Kriticos. “These weaknesses contribute to unclear ownership and tenure issues, which collectively lock land into unproductive use… Formal titles could instigate productive redevelopment of land by reducing risks of expropriation, facilitating market transactions, and unlocking access to financing”.

In other words, a blockchain-backed land ownership verification system could allow people to use the value of their land to lift themselves out of poverty.



PYMNTS Study May 2022

On: PYMNTS’ survey of 2,094 consumers for The Personalized Shopping Experience report, a collaboration with Elastic Path, shows where merchants are doing well and where they need to up their game to deliver a personalized shopping experience.