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UK Land Registry successfully completes blockchain trial

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Last week Her Majesty’s Land Registry (HMLR) announced its blockchain prototype had been used in the sale of a house. The UK government department aims to show that blockchain technology can make home buying and selling more streamlined.

The trial was developed and tested as part of HMLR’s ‘Digital Street’ program. Now in its second year, the research and development initiative has been exploring blockchain solutions for real estate. For instance, using smart contracts for a transparent, quick, and trustworthy sale.

HMLR aims to become “the world’s leading land registry”, says Lord Henley, a minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, partly “by embracing new technologies like blockchain.”

The department safeguards property ownership rights in England and Wales, overseeing more than £4 trillion ($5.2 trillion) in real estate. In October 2018, they announced a partnership with software company Methods for distributed ledger technology (DLT) development.

Public sector focused Methods is using R3’s enterprise blockchain in collaboration with IPN (formerly called Blockchain Digital) for Digital Street projects.

This project aimed to combat delays and uncertainty in real estate transactions. By demonstrating a digital transfer of ownership, the trial was deemed a success by HMLR and the seller of the house in Kent.

The seller, Stefan, said: “It shows how technology like this can help make everything so much quicker and you can see clearly what’s happening at every stage. If this is the way forward, it’s going to make everything easier.”

UK law firms Mishcon de Reya and Premier Property Lawyers were stakeholders, helping test the blockchain prototype. Fintech company Shieldpay’s payment service and Yoti’s identity verification platform were also key players in the test.

Tech firm Yoti said: “This has been a hugely rewarding project and it’s exciting to think that buying or selling a home could become a digitised process using blockchain and Yoti in the future.”