“I think it’s great if you find a new flavor of ice cream and you are ready to eat your broccoli for it.” Aanchal Anand, Land Specialist and Blockchain Expert, World Bank
Blockchain was the flavor of the day at the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty. I spent a week mingling with African government officials and European service providers. Together with IHC Global, we presented a paper and Side Event on “Using Data to Support Women’s Rights: Property Markets and Housing Rights through a Gender Equity Lens” based on a pilot project in Uganda to help women claim their constitutionally protected property rights. The photo above is from my visit to Ambassador Hector Posset of the Republic of Benin. My new consulting partner Gedeon Dansou is from Benin and we are planning a visit to Cotonou to provide training programs using the International Property Markets Scorecard Methodology later this year as an entré into African francophone countries.
Another Side Event presented by New America, a DC Think Tank, titled “Blockchain & Title Registries: The End of the Beginning” changed my mindset. Prior to the event, I was skeptical of the frenzy around Bitcoin and blockchain as the latest deus ex machina to save the world’s poor. But Aanchal’s presentation and others from tech companies already working on solutions in Georgia, Dubai and Sweden made it clear that blockchain will disrupt the real estate industry just like Uber, AirBnB and Amazon have taxis, hotels and shopping malls. Shockingly even the Cook County Illinois Recorder of Deeds has a blockchain pilot program!
Without the enabling environment of clear laws, transparent and equitable policies, and a cadre of educated and progressive property professionals, then the private sector will direct their investment to other countries. Pink Floyd had it right. “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”