UK Land Registry Plans to Test Blockchain in Digital Push

The UK’s national land registry is looking to test blockchain technology as part of a wide-ranging digitization effort.

Last month, HM Land Registry began searching for new board members and, in a notice published to its website, also detailed its plans for a so-called ‘Digital Street’ – an upcoming scheme the office hopes will improve the speed and efficiency by which titles change hands.

It’s for this purpose that the Land Registry is eyeing blockchain as a possible solution.

What they’re doing: While the document itself is decidedly short on details, here’s what the office said in its note, which touches on some of objectives of the project (and hints at where blockchain may fit in):

“In order to meet Government commitments, Land Registry will need to become more digitized and customer-centric. In the near future, we expect Land Registry will begin a live test of a ‘Digital Street’ which would enable the ownership of property to be changed close to instantaneously. The Digital Street would also allow Land Registry to hold more granular data than is possible at present. Blockchain is one of the underlying technologies that will be trialled.”

The big picture: While it remains unclear when the tests will take place (or what potential platforms the Land Registry will experiment with), the development nonetheless represents the latest example of a public agency looking to blockchain tech as a mechanism for cataloging changes in land ownership.

Several countries have moved to test the tech for this purpose. Sweden, for example, initiated the second phase of a test as recently as March. Regulatory hurdles, however, could hamper any attempts to bring that project to commercial scale, its organisers said.

Similar undertakings are being pursued by the government in Brazil, and the state of Illinois, too, is working on a land registry project as part of a wide-ranging blockchain initiative.

HM Land Registry image via Shutterstock

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