Leonardo Gonzalez Dellan argues that the future of Land Registry in Latin America is blockchain technology. “Efficient land registry is a key to increasing security of tenure and improving the productivity of the food production sector of Latin America,” he says. Evidence from Honduras and Brazil supports this conclusion, but any reform will not be easy.
Blockchain enables a distributed ledger system in which records are held by all computers in the network at the same time and every computer has to verify a transaction. It thus works as a notary system which would make Land Registers impossible to tamper with or alter. In Honduras there has been a concerted effort to introduce the Epigram system based on blockchain since 2016 and in Brazil, the Ubiquity platform recently completed a registry integration pilot in the Pelotas and Morro Redondo municipalities of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. In both cases the pilots were successful, but the systems have not been adopted, instead they have been delayed or halted because opposition from the officials who would be displaced, and the costs associated with implementation.
In India, the United Nations Development Programme are piloting a similar project. The researchers on that project are hopeful: “The word blockchain often conjures up thoughts of cryptocurrencies, of people dabbling in a seemingly dark art, making tens of millions of dollars. Blockchain was first linked to the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, but it is a technology that can enrich the lives of billions of people, in countless ways.
We believe it will have a huge impact in the developing world, helping uplift the poor and marginalised, aid in fighting corruption…and so much more.” As an international trade expert, Dellan argues that Latin American states “need to persevere with the technology, follow the lead of the UNDP and become early adopters of this ground breaking new way of protecting citizens and enhancing economic opportunity in the food production sector which we need to drive exports.”