Australian NSW Land Registry Service Turns to Blockchain for Property Transactions

Australian State To Test Property Transactions On Blockchain

A department of Australia's New South Wales (NSW) government has announced its partnership with a blockchain technology firm to take all property transactions onto the blockchain.

NSW Land Registry Services, the operator of land titling and registry operations in the state, is launching a proof-of-concept (PoC) trial to gauge if blockchain is the best way to go.

The PoC will be on a selected number of use cases will be conducted by the New South Wales Land Registry Services and blockchain tech firm ChromaWay using the latter’s open source technology in recording data, facilitating transactions as well as offering smart contracts.

At present, all land transactions are recorded manually and are written into public registers. Once the digitization process is complete, that will no longer be the case and paper contracts will no longer be valid.

Chromaway is at the forefront of these efforts. The Stockholm-based, Swedish company, has been offering its open source blockchain technology for over four years now and among its clients include the Swedish land registry for whom it has done similar work.

Speaking about the partnership, the CEO of NSW Land Registry Services, Adam Bennett said:

“Blockchain and distributed ledger systems are being implemented in land jurisdictions overseas where they are already delivering significant benefits,” said the CEO of NSW Land Registry Services, Adam Bennett. “NSW LRS is therefore working with ChromaWay to investigate and test selected use cases that might be relevant to our market.”

Touting the potential for blockchain to replace paper processes, ChromaWay said that, using blockchain systems, information remains “secure and immutable, while also being accessible and searchable.”

The company said “it will provide a more complete and comprehensive view of land rights, restrictions, and responsibilities, which will streamline decision-making for government and land sector actors, provide increased information transparency, and reduce data duplication”.

According to ChromaWay, a blockchain-based registry system will be offer immutability while maintaining access and providing search features. Additionally, it will reduce data duplication, enhance information transparency and improve security.

The issue of security will be especially critical since the Property Exchange Australia (PEXA), a national eConveyancing platform, has disappointed on this front. In June, for instance, a Melbourne-based family lost AU$250,000 through PEXA in a hacking attack.

The blockchain-based property conveyancing initiative comes at a time when the state government of New South Wales has already mandated the registry manager, which is now privately owned after being offloaded last year, make a complete transition to eConveyancing by next year in July.

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