As bitcoin struggles to gain mainstream recognition, the technology powering the digital currency is quickly being developed for a wide range of uses outside of the financial space.
The blockchain is an essential platform that keeps tabs of all bitcoin transactions, keeping them relevant, updated and transparent. Researchers and large companies are interested in the technology due to its ability to maintain records.
Several establishments, such as Santander, Samsung, UBS and IBM, are heavily invested in the research and development of the blockchain. They believe that the platform is an integral part of streamlining day-to-day operations for large-scale services.
In the real estate space, the technology can be used to deter land fraud. One of the first organizations to implement the blockchain for this purpose is the government of Honduras.
“Property records, particularly in the developing world, are notoriously subject to hacking,” said Oliver Goodenough, a professor at Vermont Law School.
“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.”
With the help of Factom, a Texas-based startup, the group was able to build a decentralized system that is permanent and verifiable.
Digital ledgers can also be extended to facilitate smart contracts, a protocol that executes terms based on pre-programmed conditions. Such systems are beneficial for businesses because a legal mediator is not required to maintain and follow up the agreement.
Smart contracts have the capacity to implement clauses in a lease agreement and even monthly electrical or water billings. The protocol may also be used to regulate e-commerce transactions.