The government of Honduras will partner with Houston-based Bitcoin 2.0 startups Factom and Epigraph to build a land registry database for the Central American nation using the Bitcoin blockchain, according to Reuters on Yahoo News.
The details of the project are currently still a bit fuzzy, as it is not entirely clear how, or to what degree, the Bitcoin blockchain will be used. Based on Factom's advertised model, however, it does seem likely that the construction involves a symbiosis of both decentralized databases build on top on the blockchain and centralized ones stored by either Factom, the Honduran government, or a combination of the two. Under such a construction, the centralized databases would most likely hold the critical information needed for land registry, while the blockchain would secure the information from tampering.
The desire for the Honduran government to secure a database for land registry by an immutable decentralized database such as the Bitcoin blockchain is not a coincidence. Throughout its recent history, the developing country experienced several large-scale and often violent land disputes within its territory. This has left significant segments of Honduras' population without land or – most relevant – deeds to prove ownership of the land.
While speaking to Reuters, Factom president Peter Kirby emphasized the need for a secure method of registering land in a country such as Honduras. Kirby said:
"In the past, Honduras has struggled with land title fraud. (…) The country's database was basically hacked. So bureaucrats could get in there and they could get themselves beachfront properties."
Additionally, Factom hopes to enable more people in Honduras to register their land for economic reasons. By registering, land owners could significantly add to their personal credit worthiness, which in turn could be used to invest in the country's economy, Factom hopes.
The startup provides a data layer for the Bitcoin blockchain in which all sorts of data can be stored. Factom is currently running a crowdsale in which it is selling its own internet tokens, “factoids,” for bitcoin. The campaign has so far sold more than US$500K worth.
Epigraph is a startup that focusses specifically on building transparent, tamper-proof title registration solutions using blockchain technology.
Cointelegraph reached out to Factom for additional clarification, but had not received a response at time of publication.