One problem that has plagued governments for centuries is the rightful ownership of property. Revolution or displacement by war have been one cause of this problem, while bold-faced theft by government officials or gangsters has been another. One day you owned it, the next day you didn’t.
Honduras has faced this problem, especially with the advent of computerized records. According to the U. S. Embassy in Honduras:
Honduran laws and practices regarding real estate differ substantially from those in the United States, and fraudulent deeds and titles are common. U.S. citizens considering investing or buying real estate in Honduras should be aware that rights to such property do not enjoy the same level of protection as in the United States.
Enter Factom and Epigraph
Factom is a company that aims to utilize Bitcoin’s block chain for more than just value transference. CCN.com has reported on Factom before, where Caleb Chen said of them in November:
Factom melds security, accessibility, and innovation in such a way that will undoubtedly expedite the use of blockchain technology for non-monetary purposes. While the concepts have existed in “unhashed” form for awhile, Factom will be the first large-scale project to tackle the problems of centralized record keeping and the associated wasted efficiency.
Factom will be implementing a solution for the Honduran government that creates unalterable records of property ownership. This will, in practice, with a couple of caveats, invalidate the statement on the US Embassy website. After all, property disputes occasionally happen in the US. One caveat is who will have control of entering ownership data onto the block chain and whether or not it will be multi-signature. If the owner and the government each have some form of signatory control over the data, then the social engineering problem is severely reduced. Sure, you can get the corrupt government official to agree that the property belongs to you for a fraction of its value, but can you get the actual owner to agree to the same?
Epigraph, a company which specializes in transparency technology, will be co-operating with Factom in this project. Factom has declined to tell the media how much the contract is worth, but certainly it’s no small potatoes. This is big news for Bitcoin technology, as it is only the second government to announce that it would make use of the block chain for any purpose. That it is a non-monetary purpose is all the better, as the utility of Bitcoin becomes further entrenched with every such agreement.
Also in Kosovo, Potentially Elsewhere
On the Factom blog, they recently mentioned a project that would be aimed at Kosovo, a way of lessening corruption through transparency. For this project, they are partnering with Bitsapphire.