If you’ve ever been through the process of buying a house, you’ll be well acquainted with just how convoluted and inefficient the whole affair is. It stands out as particularly archaic in an increasingly on-demand digital economy, where goods and services can be traded more or less seamlessly.
It’s timely then, that the UK government’s HM Landing Registry is moving forward with research into how the property buy-sell process can be overhauled with the use of new technologies, specifically, blockchain.
Dubbed Digital Street, the research and development project has seen the HM Land Registry partner with software company Methods, which plans to utilise the R3 blockchain platform Corda. Originally designed for financial services, Methods’ CEO Peter Rawlins said the platform was an “excellent fit” for the project, offering security, privacy and interoperability.
Digital Street will also rope in Blockchain Digital, a specialist in blockchain-enabled innovation in the public sector. Supported by experts from both of these groups and their wider partner network, the aim will be to understand the practicalities of how blockchain technology – including distributed ledgers and smart contracts – can “revolutionise”, or at least streamline, the land registration and property buy-sell process.
“Our ambition to become the world’s leading land registry for speed, ease of use and an open approach to data requires HM Land Registry to be at the forefront of global innovation in land registration,” said Graham Farrant, chief executive of HM Land Registry. “By working with Methods on Digital Street we are taking another step toward that goal, as we explore how new technologies like blockchain can help us to develop a faster, simpler and cheaper land registration process.”
Adding his thoughts, Blockchain Digital’s innovation & delivery director, John Reynolds said blockchain has the potential to “synchronise and optimise” the way all participants in the property market interact, “from solicitors to banks, from surveyors to estate agents”.
According to the announcement, the team will be working over the coming months to make real blockchain’s potential to transform land registry services by improving speed, simplicity and efficiency. Reynolds added that Blockchain Digital will be announcing a programme of “innovation and collaboration events” that enable members of the property ecosystem to join the Digital Street Community.
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