Land Rights Unchained!

Developing a blockchain-based, sustainable, participatory and functional land governance system on the local level

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The project builds on ZOA’s work in Uganda where a localised land administration is being developed in cooperation with local stakeholders including customary and state authorities. It further draws on the findings of Vincent Oberdorf’s study Building Blocks for land administration. The potential impact of Blockchain-based land administration platforms in Ghana. A central task at this point is to tailor the specific tool and process which will be the end-result of this project as well as possible to the actual needs and capacities of local stakeholders while maintaining usability and cost-effectiveness.

In Uganda, local land tenure registration is ongoing but it already becomes clear that updates of mutations on the land (changes in use or ownership) are insufficient because of centralised structures and high transaction costs.

Using the Cloud for unregistered land

It is estimated that less than 30 percent of land is registered in developing countries and where it is, records are usually not up to date. Furthermore, the land administration system is still vulnerable to corruption and administrative bottlenecks.

One central objective of the project is to bring land administration services closer to the end-user: poor small-scale farmers. The process and software developed through the project will allow for stronger involvement of stakeholders by applying shared-ledger principles. This means that different stakeholders will be involved in the verification process for registering mutations. Data will be stored and secured via blockchain. This enables long-term functioning land administration systems and a reduction in conflicts.

The project revolves around two central components:

  1. Using the basic logical components of shared-ledger technology, a process will be developed that can bring land administration closer to the end-user while limiting potential for abuse.
  2. A blockchain based software component will be developed to store and secure land administration data.

Putting trust and money in the system
A decentralised service can significantly decrease transaction costs for the end-user. Through giving people a stronger say in the administration of the land data, buy-in and trust in the system would also increase.

This can also make it possible to raise small fees for the provided service that would contribute to its financial sustainability, something that currently poses a significant obstacle. A decentralised, digital registration would also reduce the direct and indirect cost of centralised structures that are slow and cost-intensive. Storing the land administration data in a blockchain could reinforce the trust in the system on all sides while it can also reduce long-term administration costs.

Team members

David Betge
Summer Lab Participant
Vincent Oberdorf
Summer Lab Participant


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