In the future, governments, companies and other institutions could be using the blockchain technology to track and verify the ownership of property records, banking records, securities and anything else posted on an open data platform.
Oliver Goodenough, who directs the Center for Legal Innovation at the Vermont School of Law has been studying the potential of smart contracts and automated securities that can automatically and permanently record information and he finds that the blockchain network is the best and most robust way to do this:
“Property records, particularly in the developing world, are notoriously subject to hacking. Honduras got money to do an electronic record land registry, but when they were done, many key properties were held by relatives of people who set up the ledger. Now, a contract was awarded to a company in Texas to set up a blockchain-based property system.”
In democratic countries, the blockchain technology might be used to validate voter records before and after elections, making entries perusable and isolating them from fraud. It might also be relevant to securities, adding a technological component that would make fraud by corrupt officials much harder.
Goodenough researches provided the needed recognition for the blockchain as a way to establish facts, providing a rebuttable presumption that the technology was in fact the most suitable for auditing and record keeping.
An amendment to the economic development bill submitted by state Sen. Becca Balint suggested that:“blockchain technology shall be a recognized practice for the verification of a fact or record, and those facts or records established through a valid blockchain technology process shall have a presumption of validity for matters to be determined subject to, or in accordance with, the laws of the State of Vermont.”
This is one example that is drawing attention in other contexts, from countries around the world. By 2020, using blockchain technology might even become a best practice for the verification of public records online.
Governments are still precautious, given the use of the cryptocurrency on the shadier parts of the Internet, including drug deals on the Deep Web. But at least one recognizes the potential of blockchains. Projects like Factom, have shown how the blockchain technology has matured a lot over the course of the years. Now it’s already attracting governments as it is being accepted and widely used by companies and other institutions.