The government might finally be starting to catch up to technology and its myriad of benefits. More and more each day, our civilization is moving towards full digitalization and paperless operations, with the effectiveness of technology proving that it’s the best way to go. One city in Vermont is blazing a trail when it comes to the digitalization of real estate transactions. Just last month in the city of South Burlington, the very first U.S. citizen sold a home using blockchain.
The leading platform for any and all digital assets, blockchain has been slowly changing the way we’re recording and keeping data over the last few years. It has also been changing the way people think about transaction data and what it means to the individual and as a collective whole. People have been using blockchain for a while now, but it has mostly been associated with bitcoin. However, the blockchain does not rely on bitcoin to happen nor does it work the other way around. Blockchain is a standalone platform for those who wish to utilize it. On February 20, someone decided they wanted to use the blockchain platform to record her real estate dealings. Vermont resident Katherine Purcell sold her home and had recorded the entire transaction on the Ethereum blockchain, one of Propy’s pilot programs. Propy is an online real estate platform that allows people to do transactions completely online. These transactions involve the very first steps of buying or selling a home up until the home has been bought or sold.
It’s an exciting time for many blockchain startups, as this was certainly the first step towards the direction they’re leading us to. Having data recorded on blockchain, regardless of what it may be or what it could be for, is an important step towards safeguarding the integrity of transactions between two entities, two parties, or two people. There are already large blockchain platforms in existence today. A platform like Propy will make sure that every single transaction in real estate dealings has been noted down, not just by the parties involved but by a community of peers as well. This peer-to-peer network works to promote integrity in an otherwise world full of shortcuts, cheats, and easy way outs.
The blockchain offers recording that’s unchangeable in a ledger that’s pretty much unhackable. Once a record has been entered into a blockchain, there’s no possible way to tamper with it or change it altogether. Each recorded data on a blockchain builds upon the data put in before it. With Propy, the processes involved in the buying and selling of real estate remains fairly the same. Propy explained that their blockchain platform operates on 4 different levels, and that Purcell’s sale was considered a level 1. A level 1 record means that the city’s processes were mostly unchanged. The only difference with Purcell’s sale is how the paper title involved in the transaction also contained the information and location of the recorded title transfer on the blockchain. As the level increases, so does the integration of the blockchain in the recording. According to South Burlington’s City Clerk Donna Kinville, once any of the projects reach level 4, the city is prepared to allow Propy to completely replace South Burlington’s current software in managing land records. Once it happens, it will be one of the biggest steps in digitalization and blockchain recording to ever happen.
It was a good small step, and Purcell’s sale was the first ever government-sanctioned blockchain used for a public service. Vermont just put itself on the technological map. Vermont was the very first state to do it, and the people from Propy are hoping that other states will follow suit without too much push back. The company is actually already expecting Arizona and Colorado to start using blockchain as well for real estate purposes. Using a blockchain will only mean that data recording will be more efficient, more seamless, and more thorough. As the world continues to move away little by little from the use of paper in data recording, more and more trees are being saved, but also the blockchain is finally beginning to show its true usefulness and possibilities in the practical world.