Why Cook County adopted blockchain as a solution

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by Lumai Mubanga

Could blockchain reduce mortgage fraud?

Cook County is one of the most populous counties in the US with a population of about 5 million. However, it had many challenges in terms of real estate management. In 2017, it embarked on a vicious project to adopt blockchain to manage its real estates. However, what were some of the main reasons? Can other states and countries worldwide learn from it?

There are many counties adopting blockchain as a solution but Cook county had interesting reasons regarding its land records, and that is what inspired local authorities to undertake the project. Cook had become the first county-level office, to endorse the technology. The driving force was the transformative power that blockchain could have on government and real estate transactions as a whole.

Why real Estate

In the US, much real estate transaction requires multiple parties, sometimes up to 20 or 30 different entities, to agree on a single set of data. The old way involved paper-intensive, as well as time-consuming procedures, which proved expensive to get everyone on the same page. Because a blockchain does allow people to reach consensus on facts in a quicker manner, it became the obvious solution.

Public Access

Another reason that blockchain makes sense for land records is that land records in the United States are already kept as paper blockchains so to speak. This makes access by any interested parties difficult. To enhance transparency and easy access, putting that data on blockchain makes a land record available to everyone who wishes to own or sell the property by just searching for that record on the permissionless blockchain.

Lack of updates

Very few countries perhaps encourage, through legislative law, that land registers and real estate’s update be done regularly. The US had that loophole up to the time cook county decided to use advanced technology. This lack of law meant that land and real estate’s sometimes could change hands without updates being appended. This affected the rate of real estate transactions among players. Therefore, Cook County saw an opportunity to finally get everything to where anyone can go on the Internet and see who owns a property at any given time.

Fraud

Cook County had several cases where people will attempt to steal other people’s homes on paper. The reason was that the paper system did not require nor allow any verification of the data that is used in a deed or conveyance. That made it easier for a fraudster to forge a piece of paper and steal someone’s home on paper easily. Hence, adopting blockchain enhanced protecting the conveyance of property behind public and private key pair. Largely, many experienced savings of up to a thousand dollars per transaction in addition to the overall benefit of transitioning land registry and real estate management to the blockchain.

In a nutshell, cook county adopted blockchain to enhance its real estate management to combat inaccessibility, lack of updates and rampant fraud. Much remain to be seen how many other counties and indeed countries will adopt blockchain for efficiency and transparency.

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