Property Records & Land Registry on the Blockchain

4 months ago

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So, I have advocated using a blockchain to record property ownership and integrating a blockchain-based property registry into a crypto-currency system. Most recently, I had talked about that idea in my post on the outline of the proposed constitution of the ideal society that I envision. I talked about a great deal of other things in that post, but allow me to recap the portion about crypro-currency and a blockchain-based land registry.

I advocate a land value tax and a citizen's dividend. Basically following the proposal that Thomas Paine gave in Agrarian Justice. However, with the technology of the blockchain, we can do this without increasing the size of government, administration, and/or bureaucracy. The proposal is to make a crypto-currency the legal tender, then create a land registry on the blockchain. Then you can simply create an algorithym to automtically collect the land value tax.

I just wanted to share a paper that I ran across that deals with the idea of blockchain-based property registries. The paper is A blockchain­-based property ownership recording system by Alex Mizrahi. I would highly recommend that you check out that paper.

There is one line from Mizrahi's paper that I find particularly interesting:

"Integration with Bitcoin as a payment system: An ability to swap bitcoins and colored coins in one atomic transaction makes it possible to do trustless trades. E.g. if a car and a payment for a car are sent through one transaction, any problem with a transaction (e.g. a doublespend) will invalidate the trade. Thus it is impossible that a buyer will end up with a car when he haven't paid, just as it is impossible that seller will receive a money without transferring ownership of the car. Bitcoin is currently the largest cryptocurrency, which make integration with it interesting and useful."

This is particularly interesting insofar as its implication is an extreme reduction of bureaucracy, paperwork, and litigation/adjudication. This would reduce the size of government by making it more difficult to commit fraud during transactions.

We are truly living on the verge of a futurist utopia, and people don't even realize it! We could create a monetary system associated with a property recording system and integrate taxes into the system, which would allow us to automate a great deal and eliminate a lot of the existing bureaucracy and administrative institutions. This technology has the potential to be very liberatory in its effects and can allow us to create a much more libertarian society.

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I like the idea of a land registry on blockchain, but not the idea of a land tax. If you have to pay someone for the land, you are a tenant not an owner.

I am for anything that makes government smaller though. Either way, I think this is the direction we're going. You can't un-invent the Blockchain.

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You should check out "Agrarian Justice" by Thomas Paine....and "Progress and Poverty" by Henry George. Basically, the land value tax, as proposed by Georgism is not a tax. The premise is that the earth doesn't rightfully belong to anyone, since we didn't produce it and we are only entitled to the products of our own labor. We can only own the crops, the buildings, and such added to the land by labor, but not the land itself. Access to the land, then, is regarded as the common birthright of all people in society. Insofar as you exclude anyone from that right, they are entitled to compensation. So, the "land value tax" or "ground-rent" is really a payment owed to all other people in compensation for depriving them of the right to access the land that you monopolize as your own private property. But, as Thomas Paine's model shows, society is not a thing in itself...government is not equivalent to society...so to give that money to society, you have to divide it up and give it to each individual member of society in equal shares...this is the social dividend, citizen's dividend, or basic income. In my opinion, absolutely none of the money collected through land value tax should go to the State...instead, it should be automatically divided up as dividends to each person using the crypto-currency system.

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So what happens if someone didn't or couldn't pay the tax? The Blockchain organizes a posse and everyone goes and burns the guy's house down?

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The system would just establish a debt, and gradually collect it as new money is deposited in the account over time.

As I suggested in my other posts, we would need the crypto$ to be adopted as legal tender, then each person's account would be associated with their SSN or a personal identifier. If they don't pay their taxes, they might face losing ownership of their property. But, most people would have no problem paying their tax. Unless you own extremely valuable property, your social dividend will be enough to save you from losing the property. Also, the taxes would be collected gradually, not all at once, so that it would be virtually unnoticeable that you're even getting taxed.

https://steemit.com/politics/@ekklesiagora/the-constitution-of-the-libertarian-social-democratic-republic

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The premise for land value taxation is that in fact nobody does own land independent of the state, or the community, that lives upon it. When we pay another person for a piece of land we are in fact buying a state mediated license to certain rights over that land.

To highlight this, the rights we receive tend to vary depending on the laws of the jurisdiction. For example in the UK we have what are known as Public Rights of way which mean that a person may walk or ride or drive across certain routes over land, those rights are not negated by purchase of the land title (a license usually to exclusive use of the land) and cannot be bought or sold. Land purchase is about access annd exclusion rights, despite the term 'property'. the only property we have in real estate are the papers of title that we pay for.

The ultimate landlord to any site is the entire community of a nation. Hence, the nation could charge rent, in return for providing defence, policing security, and the nation's economic system that services the site with various valuable facilities - proximity to a city, or road network, etc. the argument for land value tax is that it is better to levy rent at the site of provision of economic value than to tax labour when is further down the chain of exchanges, and by taxing labour we tend to miss a lot of value that is swept up by the person who holds title to the land. placing a levy on every square metre of a country can capture unearned income, unearned value and by not taxing labour we create the full incentive to work and produce rather than to capture monopolies and rent.

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I disagree. I think land ownership is a real thing, and it is the State acting like a gangster when taxes are forced upon land owners. In the US we are currently having some legal disputes about whether or not the State can actually take a person's land, so we'll see how that turns out.

However, the land isn't owned by the state, or the community. Land is owned by people, and people may come together to form a State, but the land ownership is still in the hands of the people. What you're saying is that basically a bunch of people can move in around a person's land and call themselves a state, then they can take away the land. Well, they may be able to, but it would be theft.

The State doesn't own anything. The State doesn't produce anything. Rights do not come from the state. The State exists to protect rights, not grant them. Private property rights are intrinsic to the human experience until some criminal gang comes along to rob people of them.

The whole idea of a nation charging rent is ridiculous, as well. It's not rent, it's extortion money. You can't refuse their "protection" and you can't take your property and go elsewhere. It really is, "pay us or something bad might happen to you."

Very good post @kklesiagora master is very useful for blockchain users

Before we do that, we need the blockchain to mature more and be able to use smart contracts more. We can even automate the buying and selling properties if there's a government wiling to invest in this tech.

It would prevent scammers from selling people houses using fake titles. Just imagine how much money you would save from ditching the lawyers, brokers and filing the documents needed.

The first crypto that could implement this feature would destroy many coins in the process.

I think that would be great but risky because everyone can see your title

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Well, can't you really already do that? I mean, if you know an address, you can find out who owns the property online...and if you know a person's name, you can find out where they live. But, it could still be done with some degree of anonymity, by using a public key instead of listing an actual name on the record. Of course, if someone wanted to, they could find out who it is...but you can already do that as it is.

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The transparency of title is not necessarily a bad thing. In the UK over half of all land title is not publicly registered and this has permitted monopoly interests to hide ownership and assets offshore beyond democratic accountability. if someone wants to hold land title defended by a nation's armed forces then perhaps the least they can do is have their name on the land register?