Blockchain technology simplifies land registration in the South Caucasus

What opportunities do new digital technologies offer for global sustainable development? This and other topics will be discussed next week at the re:publica conference on digital culture.

Apps that uncover corruption, drones that deliver medicines to remote regions – there are many uses for digital technologies. At this year’s re:publica, the topic “Tech for Good” will focus on the question of what opportunities digitalisation offers for sustainable development. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH will also be there. It already uses digital solutions in more than 200 projects and will present some of them at Europe’s largest conference on digitalisation and society.

One technology that is still relatively new is blockchain. This is a list of data records that contains all transactions ever conducted. Everyone can see the latest status of the exchange process, which means that data cannot be changed without everyone knowing. The data records, called ‘blocks’, build on each other and are stored on a decentralised basis in many locations. GIZ is already using the technology in three projects.

In Georgia, for example, GIZ has been commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to work with the Georgian Government to reform the legal system. After all, growing legal security encourages foreign investment – and thus sustainable economic development. Blockchain is playing an important role here as a means for the national public registry in Georgia to make land register entries available digitally. Integrating the entries into the data record chain verifies their authenticity. Blockchain technology thus prevents manipulation and corruption – and helps to build the trust of the population and investors in the judiciary. And the system has been accepted – around one million processes have already been registered.

But Georgia wants to go one step further. In future, the aim is for real estate transactions to be handled completely via blockchain – including proof of the identity of the buyer and seller. Around 3.7 million people in Georgia will benefit from transparent, secure and more efficient land registration. GIZ has already developed the legal framework for the ‘smart contracts’ required for this – pioneering a new approach to legal processes.

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