Blockchain-based property records startup Ubitquity will present as a finalist in the Smart Dubai Office Blockchain Challenge on 29-30th May. The platform is also actively participating in a pilot with the land records bureau in Brazil.
The inaugural two-day Dubai program involves a pitch competition to investors and public/private institutions. There’s a $20,000 USD price for first place, and $15K and $10K for second and third place. Most importantly, winners get the chance to actually implement the platform in Dubai for 2020.
Ubitquity is a Colu-based platform that uses marked tokens on the Bitcoin blockchain to track and secure property deeds and land records. Their current platform is available as an alpha version. As well as the Brazil project, Ubitquity says it’s working with several other “stealth” clients.
Ubitquity can also serve clients with requirements for Hyperledger and Ethereum — which it supports with its platform via the Colu API stack.
Ubitquity LLC founder and president Nathan Wosnack said the platform offers greater accuracy and immutability to property ownership data for governments anywhere.
“Our involvement in the challenge will demonstrate to the judges and the government of Dubai the power and benefits of using blockchain-powered recordkeeping with Ubitquity,”
The Dubai event aims to showcase concepts that could position the emirate as a pioneer in several emerging technologies, including blockchain. Organizer Smart Dubai Office aims to “deliver efficient, seamless, safe and impactful city experiences” for all residents and visitors.
Wosnack gave Bitsonline some more in-depth details about Ubitquity’s platform and purpose. He said the company deliberately chose open, established networks like Colu on Bitcoin and Ethereum for a good reason.
“We strongly believe that the incentivized consensus model is by far the most secure and reliable so we prefer open blockchains, bitcoin in particular for its maturity and simplicity (and most secure and tried/tested/true public distributed ledger).”
“However we’re 100 percent compatible with Ethereum, Hyperledger, and MultiChain in an effort to remain fully blockchain-agnostic (the Colu stack that we use is already interoperable with UTXO based blockchains). But Bitcoin is our preference.”
For its Brazil pilot, Ubitquity is dealing with a land records office that wants to move away from paper-based records and increase transparency. It’s also designed to protect against ownership disputes.
Proponents say blockchains could secure property records by creating a clear trail of ownership, and further protecting against fraud and corruption. However one criticism often leveled against such projects is the need to still rely on a legal enforcement mechanism to retain possession of physical property.
Or in other words, what happens if a corrupt local administration/gangster still decides to seize your land? How does a blockchain prevent that?
“Ultimately, nothing can protect against a group of armed people taking land from one another,” Wosnack continued. “We’re a software startup, not the Roman Legion. What we can do, however, is prevent them from altering the property records. There will always be a ‘paper trail, which is quite useful in itself. It can be a deterrent, a way to rectify the situation, perhaps even a way to expose the corruption.”
Ubitquity first launched as an LLC in September 2015. In true blockchain startup fashion, it is Delaware-registered with a decentralized team — staff are located throughout western Canada (Vancouver) and eastern United States.
As well as its Brazil project, Ubitquity has demonstrated its platform by recording the first blockchain-recorded property ownership transfer in Norfolk, Virginia. It markets the platform on a software as a service (SaaS) basis.
Presenting as a finalist the Dubai event will no doubt raise Ubitquity’s profile. Should it win a place, it’ll have the chance to try its platform on one of the world’s most prominent and glittering cities.
Do you think blockchain property deeds are a good idea? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Ubitquity, Pixabay