Overstock.com, Inc. has announced that its blockchain-meets-property rights subsidiary, Medici Land Governance, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Trevor Kaunda, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources in Zambia, to develop a program for systematic land governance within the country.
Zambia, like many other developing countries around the world, struggles with low levels of participation in formal land registry systems. This low participation is a major barrier to financial inclusion, and hence economic development, for approximately two-thirds of the world’s population. Without formal ownership, individuals struggle to obtain access to credit and public services, while governments are limited in their ability to collect taxes, enforce property rights, and plan for economic expansion and innovation. Using blockchain and other technologies, Medici Land Governance (MLG) will create systems to collect and easily secure property ownership information.
“This momentous partnership with the Zambian Ministry of Land and Natural Resources has the potential to be a real, sustainable game-changer in reducing poverty and supporting economic development on a large scale,” said Medici Land Governance CEO, Dr. Ali El Husseini. “At Medici Land Governance, we believe that the first step toward reducing global poverty is to build a secure and stable way to record land and property rights, and using our expertise in blockchain, mobile apps, and other technologies, we are building the technology that can do that.”
As part of the MOU, MLG has agreed to deliver to the Ministry certificates of title in digital and printed form by November 30, 2018 to serve as proof of concept for a systematic, streamlined process to scale up the country’s land titling program.
Plans for the full scope of the project include developing a blockchain-based land titling program that includes a mobile platform and capabilities for mobile payments. The platform will accommodate streamlined regulations and data collection to assist future government decisions around city planning and land use.
MLG was founded in 2018 and is the 14th portfolio company in Medici Ventures, Overstock’s blockchain technology accelerator. MLG’s mission is to help individuals around the world connect with the global economy by using blockchain and other technologies to help record rightful ownership of property.