tanzanie_1

Bitland is an experimental platform using decentralized, trustless models such as Bitcoin’s blockchain to bridge the gap between the government and the undocumented areas.

Its key principle is that all participation is voluntary. Meaning that there’s a personal and/or community consent, and approval, time-stamped, and government approved.

This process will be tokenized in the blockchain for later reference, for every claim, and transaction.

Content Management Tools Improvement

While servers represent some level of control over the physical elements of the system, the long term risk associated with the servers is too high for many customers.

The team is looking to move to a decentralized system in which users download an application which serves as a way to encrypt massive amounts of data and store the data on a public ledger of events.  In the new system, the users will have more control over their data, and the public ledger will verify the integrity of records without sacrificing the privacy of users.  Having public, encrypted, and decentralized records will give users control over their data, but simultaneously ensure the integrity of the data, as any changes to files are publicly trackable.

Customer Management System

The situation currently does not allow government officials, organizations, or individuals easy access to solving a land title dispute.  On the one hand, the records need to be protected from malicious attackers; but on the other hand files should not be easily accessible to workers unless requested by a customer.  If there was no way for users to request assistance from the Bitland team to get access to their records, essentially the user would be at risk of losing their information as the data is not easily retrieved once it goes into the system.

In the new system, it will be imperative that users are given a method of sending official requests through the interface to get assistance.  With any liability that arises from helping customers, having a record through the interface will protect the user and Bitland from inconsistencies affecting business.

Data Governance Evaluation

Data governance is an extremely important aspect of keeping an organization’s intellectual property safe and secure at all times.  Aside from standard policies and procedures, the data quality and business processes are also examined in this portion of the report.

Data Quality

In order to get an accurate picture of Bitland’s data quality, the management of data must be analyzed.  As there are currently no formal policies in place concerning data management, that presents an opportunity to improve operations.  In addition, having Bitland staff trained to assist customers will ensure the data quality maintains the highest level possible.

Strengths Weaknesses
Standardized forms No formal policies in place

 

Data Management

As the Bitland team looks to transition to a more decentralized storage system, the current state of data management must be assessed.  Currently, the system is unorganized and there is an extreme backlog of land title disputes.  It is not extremely functional for making progress, and until the backlog is settled rural land deals are in limbo on official records.

Strengths Weaknesses
Interface is standardized for users No formal policies in placeNo metadata

 

Data Policies Management

As the Bitland team looks to implement new policies concerning data management, it is important to establish responsibility for any changes to policy.  In addition, it is important that part of the team is devoted to making sure policies are being followed, as not following policies would defeat the purpose of creating the policies in the first place.

Strengths Weaknesses
Only records are kept, so file management is kept to a small number of file types No formal policies in placeNo oversight of policy changes

 

Business Process Management

Since the Bitland team is a non-profit organization, the process of business operations will be slightly different than a for profit company.  As there are no formal business process management policies, it will be important that the team ensures Bitland does not break any laws with the actions taken by the company.  Beyond the legality issue, it is important to make sure the business processes have oversight and are made to be as efficient as possible through standardized processes.

 

Strengths Weaknesses
The process for users is fairly standardized No standardized process management in place

 

Risk Management

Bitland’s main goal is to protect the data of its users.  In order to maintain the highest level of protection, a proper risk management assessment is needed.  The new content management system will look to decentralize the data storage and prevent any individual server from being the “last back up”, and eliminate the possibility of losing data due to server failure.  As there are no formal policies in place, this presents major opportunity for improvement.

Strengths Weaknesses
The cryptography used is the most current No standardized risk management practices in placeCentralized servers

 

 

Objective

Design Bitland’s initial land registry and title protocol that will be applicable for places where currently there are no functioning or badly functioning land registry and title services (institutions that provide services for arbitration of contracts regarding land use). Those could, for instance, be the northerners in Ghana (the problem in Ghana’s case is lack of public record on land ownership or legal recognition of the land’s ownership, although according to the Ghanaian law the residents may collectively obtain a title after living there for a fixed period of time if fulfilling certain requirement such as utilization of the land, paying taxes, etc – a thing they in lack of organization do not often do), or most of the land (land title might be contested in court or illegally grabbed).

It will help foster peace in communities in many frontier and emerging market environments through resolving land disputes in a peaceful manner, and unlock wealth through securing properties (through private contracts, written in public form – protected by strong encryption technologies). A property with titles (and utilization contract) helps people lend money (to show a legitimate asset and thus get easier access to credit). and that money can be used to start companies or get education, and encourages investments in the property (development) itself.

In addition to securing their land on the blockchain, they can also refer to the BitLand Title on other contracts, like marriage, wills, death certificates, birth certificates etc.

Process

The process contains three essential strands: land survey, land registry and titling, and land tokenization.

 

Land Survey and Title Preparation:

Background research, assessment and community engagement

We have chosen Ghana as the place for the first phase, because Ghana needs improved land rights to bolster their autonomy and economy. We also chose Ghana because The founder and CEO is a resident in Ghana and has dedicated all his time and energy on this project with the enthusiasm to work on improving human standards in terms land titles.

What is the specific context — how is the land used, what sort of contract exist, how can it be improved upon?
Resource rights and management:
*Water Rights
*Shared Wells
*Shared Sewage
*Mining Rights
*Community land: Parks, Streets, etc
*Shared Cattle
*Other shared resources

Arrange meetings with community leaders in areas suitable for tests: areas where people live in (have property) and are currently non-titled. Speak with the community leaders (paramount chiefs and sub-chiefs) to understand their perception on the land situation. Conduct research with open-ended questions amongst different parts of the community. Map out shared community resources in the pilot area: shared wells, shared sewage, shared electricity lines, etc.

Ghana land registry and title open source reading material:

http://www.fig.net/pub/fig2006/papers/ps07/ps07_15_sittie_0848.pdf

http://www.doingbusiness.org/data/exploreeconomies/ghana/registering-property

http://usaidlandtenure.net/sites/default/files/country-profiles/full-reports/USAID_Land_Tenure_Ghana_Profile_0.pdf

http://ghanahouseplans.com/gh/how-to-register-your-land-in-ghana.htmll

https://www.fig.net/pub/accra/ppt/ts06/ts06_02_fosu_derby_ppt.pdf

http://www.fig.net/pub/accra/papers/ts14/ts14_03_kuntumensah.pdf

 

 Speak with the community leaders, and others

Arrange meetings with community leaders in areas suitable for tests: areas where people live in (have property) and are currently non-titled. Speak with the community leaders (paramount chiefs and sub-chiefs) to understand their perception on the land situation. Conduct research with open-ended questions amongst different parts of the community. Map out shared community resources in the pilot area: shared wells, shared sewage, shared electricity lines, etc.

Community workshop and decision on test area

A workshop with people in the area to explain the benefits of land registry and deeding, how the blockchain works in its function of a distributed public ledger, and helping people through the process of setting up their own PGP keys. The workshop will need to be carefully prepared in advance, and in some areas translated into the local language. (Note: the community workshop will be included in the BitLand land title pilot).

It could be a small street or a few houses with land bordering each other, perhaps 4-5 pieces of land owned by different persons. The purpose is for people with bordering land to the soon-to-be titled land sign off on a common map with their public keys, so that it’s verifiable that the community agreed on the boundaries, not just individual owners. This is designed to prevent people from randomly titling land that doesn’t belong to them.

 

Part 1. Land Survey

1. Setup Survey Markers

Leave the survey markers with the community (around 30 of them, assuming there are 4-5 plots of lands to survey, and further assuming they’re not all perfectly rectangular), and spend the time it takes to agree on where the markers are set-up, defining the boundaries between the lands.

Survey markers should be of durable materials to keep as landmarks over time. This video can be used as inspiration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIetDYnj9Z0

Survey markers might carry a unique ID (number, sticker, RF-ID).

Survey grade GPS equipment is expected to become increasingly cheap and accurate over the next few years ahead. The need for durable markers in the ground will therefore be of lesser importance in the future. This implies that the application of survey markers should rather be optional than mandatory.

2. Survey GPS/ GNSS hardware

The survey equipment should perform at least as accurate as government requirement in the local region. For the initial demo project, equipment will be rented locally. On the longer term we aim to facilitate easy access to cheap survey hardware in the form of a smartphone accessory.

The make and model of equipment used as well as accuracy assessment data should be recorded for each survey point. The urban canyons may influence the accuracy, for instance if the survey marker is in between tall trees or buildings. Hence, when conducting the pilot we will try to find an area with mainly low buildings.

This technology is improving rapidly with new PPP global augmentation services and low cost RTK products are being released frequently, from various vendors.

Another approach to mapping could be accurately geo-rectified aerial images. Here are two, inexpensive and simple means that enables high resolution aerial photography.

Baloon Camera http://store.publiclab.org/products/balloon-mapping-kit

Drone on a leash http://www.fotokite.com/#product

It could be a practical approach to have RTK GNSS receiver with build in camera and WiFi / Bluetooth connectivity, that could be carried on a simple cheap quadcopter on a lesh or a balloon.

A micro drone with a camera could also be an option

http://www.micro-drone.co.uk

http://www.bitcraze.se/2012/10/another-key-chain-camera-hack

Part 2. Land Titles

To create titles on the blockchain the instruments needed are GPS coordinates, open street maps (or other mapping system), PGP keys, and a timestamping service. Each step is outlined below.

1. Prepare title document
Verify GPS coordinates via Google maps/ open street maps with owners of land x (land to be deeded) and owners of all lands surrounding land x, create new google map. verify against physical landmarks, photos uploaded to map to match coordinates.

Use available OpenStreetMap editors for creating polygon plots. Enter the GPS coordinates of polygons in the Open Street Map cadastral layer. Other platforms to consider instead of OpenStreetMap includes GeoCommons, QGIS and GeoServer. Refer nodes to the unique ID’s on each survey marker. If there need to be time to make sure consensus is met, that should be taken into account. May need to convert data from Empirical System to international standards.

Prepare title document: standard land title contract with updated names. Include GPS coordinates, block number, merkle root, map reference and the name of area (country, city, village, street, house if applicable/ availible data).

Timestamp land title, sign of with PGP keys, create database and torrent
Help the community create personal PGP keys (see step 1.2), can also be done using keybase.io for the pilot. Sign of Title document with PGP keys of local sub-chief, the landowner, landowners of the surrounding lands, other people as applicable.

Timestamp the land title into the blockchain using a service like btproof or proofofexistence.

Save hash and block number. (together with the merkel root the blocknumber proves that it was done between time x and x).

Create a SQL database to enter the data, store documents.

Create torrent using BitTorrent.

Store database and documents, images, maps, hash on torrent.

Part 3. Land Tokenization and Utility Contracts

The purpose of tokenizing the land is to turn it into a tradable instrument which can be tracked, thus more secure and transparent. Adding smart contracts for purchase, leases, rent or other utilities tied to the token can add advantages of automatically executed commands tied to for instance escrow accounts, mutual saving wallets, marriage or wills documents, corporate shareholders contracts on the blockchain etc.

Tokenization of land

The tokenization is done using a blockchain meta protocol to create a cryptographic token which represents the land. For this pilot we’ve chosen to use coloured coins, which is based on the Bitcoin blockchain. Other meta protocols which can be used are NXT, Horizon, CounterParty, MasterCoin, BitShares, ClearingHouse, DogeParty etc. We’ve choosen coloured coins because it’s based on the Bitcoin blockchain which is currently the most secure and well-maintained blockchain, and because it’s better tailored for specific value tokens like physical assets. It’s also very user friendly. Attach the token to a smart contract referencing the timestamp hash, and the torrent, sign with owner PGP (must match the timestamp PGP) and store in torrent, as well. In the future torrents could be replaced by other technologies such as MaidSafe or StorJ.

Smart contracts can be created manually or through using services like Ethereum or CounterParty etc. Type of contract can vary: buy/ sell, lease rent or utility contracts. It can include guidelines for usage of community assets including sewage, electric grids, etc.

The contract can also reference, with built in automatic commands to execute certain actions, towards a wallet and/ or escrow account, a will, a child care contract, a marriage contract, a corporate incorporation contract, or any other type of blockchain based contracts. Additionally, it’s reasonable to include guidelines for dispute resolution – e.g. code of law used, and arbitration platform.

As the technology evolves it makes sense to build up chains of linked information to link a blockchainbased land deed to another, to a neighbourhood, city, region, country, part of the world, etc using ‘notary-chain services’ such as Factom, for instance – referencing timestamps, PGP, GPS, token reference, merkle root, block number, time and date, etc), and it can be made to communicate with other locally based contracts such as marriage, wills, corporate incorporation, etc in the chain of information.

Part 3. Land Tokenization and Utility Contracts

The purpose of tokenizing the land is to turn it into a tradable instrument which can be tracked, thus more secure and transparent. Adding smart contracts for purchase, leases, rent or other utilities tied to the token can add advantages of automatically executed commands tied to for instance escrow accounts, mutual saving wallets, marriage or wills documents, corporate shareholders contracts on the blockchain etc.

 

Land Title Registration. The Ghanaian Experience Rebecca SITTIE, Ghana

 

 

Protocol
In order to keep this simple, we can start with the basic functions of a land registry: register a region, split a region and merge regions.

 

Bitland_REGISTER

Add fields regarding land use, lease, and development

FIELD DESCRIPTION
Jurisdiction/Name Country/State/City/Community
Proof of rights HASH of documents proving land rights
Geometry List of geospatial coordinates, resulting in a non-self intersecting polygon.
Owner Public key for community
Signatures Community members x 4 or 5

Message validation

Name/Jurisdiction should be unique (Perhaps Name/Jurisdiction should be one field)
No land overlap will be allowed, if the registration polygon intersects any of the already existing registered regions it will be considered invalid
Geometry should be a non-self intersecting polygon
New owner’s public key is multi-signature and is governed by the community itself, that BITLAND does not involve itself with how they will split the property among community members.

Bitland_SPLIT

 

FIELD DESCRIPTION
INPUT ID of region(hash of C_LAND_REGISTER message)Payments:A: ??? BTCB: ??? BTC
OUTPUTS List of new owners and regions defined by list of geospatial coordinates for each.OWNER A: (A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6)OWNER B: (B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6)…
Legal HASH of any legal documentation.
Signatures Community ownersIndividual owners of each land

Message validation

Union of outputs geometry needs to match the input region exactly
(insignificant math precision errors may need to be allowed)
Outputs geometry should not overlap one another
Signatures of community members are required

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