This article discusses how blockchain technology could revolutionize real property title record-keeping, or not. It begins with a brief history of property transfers and title registry in the United States, followed by a basic overview of blockchain technology. Then it outlines how title is typically recorded today, including the role of traditional grantor-grantee indexes, plus less common tract indexes. It describes common title problems, often caused by human error, and exacerbated by an outdated system, together with an explanation of how blockchain and even tract indexes could eliminate or mitigate many title problems and simplify an antiquated system. The article shares various agencies’ studies and experiences using blockchain for land transfers or title registry, and lessons learned. That leads to a broader discussion of blockchain benefits and drawbacks for title registries. It concludes that the costs associated with making a wholesale transition to blockchain does not presently justify such transition, even though blockchain has the potential to simplify indexing, enhance security, and reduce title errors. However, many problems could be avoided or resolved through uniform adoption of tract indexes which would require universal adoption of e-recording and digital documents.
Laura M. Padilla,
Real Estate Trends: Title and Blockchain Technology,
Belmont L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.cwsl.edu/fs/425