The United Nations has released a blockchain-powered solution to help the Afghan government manage property ownership issues in the country’s urban areas.
According to a Dec. 2 announcement, the U.N. Human Settlements Programme, or U.N.-Habitat, will present its new digital land registry solution to the Ministry of Urban Development and Land in Afghanistan in December 2020.
The U.N. first launched its blockchain project for sustainable urban development in Afghanistan in 2019.
Now, with its new blockchain-enabled digital land registry tool, the U.N. wants to help Afghanistan address major challenges in urban informal settlements — otherwise known as slums or shanty towns — like land grabbing, inefficient use of land and insecure land tenure in informal settlements.
According to the U.N., more than 80% of properties in Afghan cities “are not registered with municipal or national land authorities, and occupants do not have formal ownership documents.”
Known as “‘goLandRegistry,” the new system is designed to record all property documents on a blockchain, as well as issue occupancy certificates. This will reportedly allow property owners to independently demonstrate the authenticity of occupancy certificates using an open-source blockchain verification tool.
The tool is based on a hybrid blockchain platform run by European startup LTO Network. LTO CEO Rick Schmitz said that hybrid blockchain solutions enable optimized and decentralized data exchange between stakeholders in the land registry process, removing the need for expensive IT-overhauls.
“By using Live Contracts, data can be automatically distributed to different stakeholders and systems to facilitate land-registry transfers, tax automations, provision of credit, etc.,” Schmitz said.
Maurizio Gazzola, chief of strategic solutions at the U.N. Office of Information and Communications Technology — a partner agency on the project — said that the U.N. wants to provide its digital land registry solution to more countries:
“The plug-and-play design of the LTO Network’s blockchain and the contribution of transaction tokens for the Afghanistan project enabled the development of the blockchain anchoring mechanisms and the Open Source certificate of ownership verification tool that is now available to any country to utilize as a blockchain add-on to their existing land registry systems.”