A new blockchain registry for real estate will arrive soon for the City of South Burlington, Vermon, from Palo Alto, California-based startup Propy Inc.
Propy announced Monday that the registry, powered by distributed-ledger blockchain technology, would be part of a pilot program to digitize and secure city land records in collaboration with the City Clerk’s Office of South Burlington.
A blockchain is a shared ledger that is distributed among numerous nodes where each node embeds new data using cryptographic proofs to secure each addition. In this manner, blockchains can be used to reduce fraud and make transactions easier to track.
The Vermont state government began to show interest in blockchain technology in 2015 when then-Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law an act forming a committee to study the technology and its potential benefit to the state. The next year, Vermont passed legislation that formally recognized blockchain-notarized documents and, in 2017, Governor Phil Scott signed a law promoting economic development through broader blockchain applications in legal and business applications.
“The City of South Burlington is always interested in taking advantage of technology that enhances its delivery of services to residents,” said Donna Kinville, city clerk of South Burlington. “We are ready to learn from this Propy pilot.”
The pilot program will provide a real-world platform for the city and allow the state to better understand the impact of using a blockchain to manage a government service. Participants in the blockchain will use it to track real estate registrations and exchanges between parties and it will be considered binding legal documentation. Because of the nature of blockchains, the process from the first registration of a piece of real estate until its current disposition can be traced back through the blockchain history.