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Propy trials blockchain for land registry in Vermont

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Yesterday, it was announced that startup Propy and the U.S. city of South Burlington completed a blockchain trial for real estate transactions. Propy implemented its blockchain registry system for six weeks in parallel to the city Land Recorder’s office.

Property deeds filed with the U.S. Land Recorder’s office were also fed into Propy’s title registry software. While Propy is best known for providing real estate transaction management software for brokers and agents, it also has a title registry solution for government departments, which was the subject of the South Burlington trial.

Real estate titles registered using Propy’s solution include an address on the public Ethereum blockchain.

The company’s core software for brokers and agents enables the listing of properties, completion of documentation and digital payments, with the facility to record ownership on the blockchain registry.

The broker/agent solution helps to prevent wire fraud that can happen if the recipient’s bank details are intercepted when sent via email. Additionally, it provides real-time transaction monitoring and integrates DocuSign, a digital solution for signing agreements.

Coming back to the land registry trial, one of the reasons it is in Vermont is the 2018 blockchain legislation passed in the State in which Propy played a prominent role. While the bill was quite broad, it included a clause which recommends legislation to support the “possible” use of blockchain technology for land records.

At the time of the signing of the new law, Vermont Governor Phil Scott credited Propy and said the bill “encouraged companies to pilot applications of blockchain, like launching a program here in South Burlington, to reduce both the cost and complexity of recording real estate transactions.”

Vermont-based non-profit Distributed Ledger Governance Association (DLGA) played an important part in securing Propy’s place at the table.

Founded in 2016, Propy raised $15.5 million via an initial coin offering. More recently, Second Century Ventures, the venture capital arm of the U.S. National Association of Realtors invested an undisclosed amount in the company, according to Crunchbase. The firm boasts real estate firms Coldwell Banker and Century 21 as clients.

Meanwhile, Propy entered a partnership with Escrow Agent Japan (EAJ) last year to introduce its blockchain platform in the Japanese real estate market.

Among other similar initiatives, The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF), has launched a blockchain pilot for property registry in South Africa. The Spanish Association of Registrars is working on a registry for tourist rentals. Projects are also active in the UAE, Mexico and the U.K.

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