Lantmäteriet, the land registry of Sweden, officially started to utilize Blockchain technology to register land and properties.

Since early 2017, various countries including Brazil have begun to utilize Blockchain technology to facilitate the ownership of land and properties in a decentralized, transparent and immutable network.

In an interview with Computer Weekly, Mats Snäll, Lantmäteriet’s head of development, revealed that the Swedish land registry has been actively investing in Blockchain technology and developing a proof-of-concept Blockchain platform since 2016.

In March of this year, Lantmäteriet completed the initial phase of trials of its Blockchain-based land and properties registry platform.

Snäll said:

“When we heard about Blockchain and its supposed benefits, we wanted to explore whether this is an actual next-generation technology we could use for registries. We have to try it on a wider scale and have more partners to see it also works with a larger number of transactions, but we haven’t come up against anything so far that argues against this technology.”

Private Blockchain vs. public decentralized Blockchain network

In April, Bitcoin-based Blockchain infrastructure provider Ubitquity helped the Brazilian government and one of the land records bureaus of Brazil in utilizing the Bitcoin Blockchain to secure the registry land and properties on a transparent and immutable ledger.

Due to its hash power, the Bitcoin network is arguably the most secure Blockchain network in existence, as an increasing amount of computing power continuously maintain the high level of security, decentralization and immutability of Bitcoin.

At the time, Ubitquity founder and president Nathan Wosnack said:

“Keeping property records — one of the most important documents a person holds — on the Blockchain is important in developing markets such as Brazil. The Blockchain allows ownership and title disputes to be handled in a fair and transparent fashion, and serves as a backup in case the original is destroyed or misplaced.”

Currently, it is difficult to store large amounts of data on top of the Bitcoin Blockchain. Various projects including RSK Lab’s Rootstock are in the process of enabling an ecosystem wherein smart contracts can be deployed and integrated into the Bitcoin network.

For land and property registry, Bitcoin Blockchain can be used because of the minimal data that is usually recorded by land registries. More to that, because private Blockchain networks are insecure and vulnerable to security breaches and hacking attacks, it is important to utilize secure Blockchain networks such as Bitcoin or Ethereum in order to process data.

Ethereum is another viable option as it prioritizes flexibility and automates smart contracts. Like Bitcoin’s transparent ledger, ownership of land and properties on the Ethereum Blockchain can be seen by anyone within the network.

Potential security issues

Yet, the Swedish land registry decided to utilize Swedish Blockchain startup ChromaWay’s private Blockchain network instead of using many other public Blockchain networks with active development communities.

Snäll still believes Blockchain technology will cut hundreds of millions of dollars of expenses for the government and although the testing of its private Blockchain has been at a small scale, he expects the project to expand and grow in the upcoming months.

“It is the only current technology that really offers a good and secure way to have digital originals. It is also the best technology so far that has proved to be secure from being hacked and corrupted,” said Snäll.