Kenya wants to stop illegal land seizure with Blockchain

Kenya wants to take action against illegal land seizure using blockchain software. The information minister in charge, Joseph Mucheru, expressed his plans in a BBC report this week. The limping cadastral system is one of the largest construction sites in the up-and-coming country. Meanwhile, alongside Kenya, more and more African states and companies are using blockchain solutions to tackle their own problems. As was also announced this week, Ethiopia is using Blockchain software to secure its coffee distribution chains.

In fact, the East African country is already regarded as an up-and-coming technology giant and even boasts the status of “Silicon Savannah. Kenya, however, lags behind in the cadastral field. The result is a fate shared by numerous developing countries around the world. Corruption and bribes help to enlarge land, claim arable land and drive people out of their homes. Deeds that can be bought in back rooms are therefore considered worthless.

This Bitcoin news should finally be over

As the Bitcoin news reports this week, Kenyan Information Minister Joseph Mucheru wants to put an end to illegal land seizure and put a stop to corruption: Blockchain technology will help. According to his plans, in future all land registries in the country could be stored on a blockchain and thus the cadastral system could be verified.

Such a blockchain platform could offer “security, efficiency and transparency” and thus counter Kenyans’ frustration with forged and subsequently altered documents, says Mucheru.

He is regarded as a great advocate of new technologies. Contrary to the official position of the Kenyan central bank, Mucheru supports Bitcoin trading and held shares in the Bitpensa start-up until the beginning of the year. In front of his cabinet post, he headed the office of the Internet giant Google responsible for sub-Saharan Africa.

“We want to be part of this growth. We missed the internet boom, but we can’t let that happen with the blockchain,

Mucheru describes the vision for his country

Cadastre is the most common field of application in public administration
Kenya, whose most important economic sector is still agriculture, has been groaning under corruption in land surveying for years. Again and again, protests escalate in the country. In 2015, for example, the news pictures of primary school students demonstrating in the capital Nairobi went around the world. They had demonstrated for the preservation of a playground that was to be sold to a hotel. Allegedly, the school had no valid deeds of ownership. The police stopped the demonstration with tear gas.

Concrete details about how such pictures should be prevented and which blockchain service provider Kenya should help with the project are not known at the moment. However, the food distributor Twiga Foods is a possible role model. The Kenyan company entered into a cooperation agreement with IBM in April and intends to grant loans to small goods stores with the help of the blockchain.

The Blockchain pilots, who are sprouting up worldwide, could also be a further godfather in land surveying. In addition to the Swedish land registry Lantmäteriet, Georgia and the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh are currently running corresponding projects. Blockchain pioneer Estonia, on the other hand, has been operating its cadastral system for years with the help of distributed ledger software.

Blockchain on the advance in Africa
Meanwhile the Blockchain is more and more on the advance in Africa. However, instead of land surveying, more and more African companies and states are using Blockchain software to secure their supply chains. As reported this week, Ethiopia wants to secure the distribution of its trade gold coffee with the technology. With the help of the software service provider IOHK, the responsible Ministry of Technology wants to prevent corruption and leaks in cultivation and shipping.

The diamond giant De Beers also wants to use the blockchain within its supply chains. The South Africans want to secure the origin of their gemstones and thus block market access for so-called blood diamonds.

ING Bank: Bitcoin remains a niche product

The chief analyst of the Dutch ING Bank, Teunis Brosens, assumes that in the long run Bitcoin has ‘little to offer’ to the general public. Brosens also considers its value to be too high. Open source projects could also easily be copied by third parties or published in modified form.

The chief analyst of the Dutch ING Bank yesterday published his Reality Check des Bitcoin on his LinkedIn profile.

In the long term, Bitcoin has little to offer the general crypto trader public

Teunis Brosens believes that this will remain a niche currency for a few technology-crazy first-time crypto trader users in the long run: Brosens also has little to do with the open source idea. Since the Bitcoin platform is open source, anyone can copy it or create their own forks (i.e. modifications or enhancements). If the Bitcoin is a “digital gold” as assumed, then all forks and copies would be successful forms of “digital alchemy”. The Bitcoin itself can become scarce on the basis of its own blockchain, which of course increases the value. But this blockchain can be copied indefinitely.

Similar to social networks, the dominance of the leading crypto currency can constantly change. Anyone who remembers SchülerVZ or MySpace in addition to the older readers is now all talking about Facebook or WhatsApp. The current value estimation of many adjoining owners consists in the conviction that the present Dominanz of the Bitcoin will remain eternally in such a way. But what is in 12 or 24 months? The market can change quickly.

A fall in prices could be followed by repressive surveillance measures.
The positive effects of the (decentralised) network would have a certain value, but these could be “much smaller than expected”. Governments, regulators or central banks will probably never really appreciate decentralized financial networks, says the economist Brosens. A negative event, such as a fall in prices followed by great public outrage, could trigger repressive “surveillance reactions” from government agencies.

Bitcoin unsuitable as a means of payment

The realistic value of this virtual currency depends solely on its future use. You can only buy it as a currency and keep it as an investment in the hope that third parties will be willing to pay even more money for it in the future. It is unlikely that the Bitcoin will play a greater role as a global means of payment. As a means of payment it is simply unattractive for small payments due to its full network and the high transaction costs (in November it was on average 8 US dollars). In addition, there was the comparatively high power consumption generated worldwide by the nodes in the BTC network.

Value too unstable, open source as a brake on innovation?
Volatility: In contrast to fiat money (state money coins and notes), the value of the Bitcoin is not significantly influenced by the central bank of a state. In the case of Bitcoin, supply and demand fluctuate, which by nature makes the value volatile (changeable). Since there is no central control, the implementation of innovative measures would take place in a very slow and painful process. The analyst also fears that power lies in the hands of a few parties, which would result in an enormous power potential. Remember the current reports of about one thousand Bitcoin whales, who own about 40% of this crypto currency and who could theoretically do whatever they wanted with it, if they would coordinate among themselves.