Overstock Subsidiary Teams With Zambia For Blockchain Titling

Blockchain, News | August 1, 2018 By:

Medici Land Governance (MLG), a subsidiary of retail giant Overstock, has teamed with the government of Zambia to provide a land governance program that collects and secures property ownership information using blockchain.

MLG is the 14th portfolio company in Medici Ventures, Overstock’s blockchain technology accelerator. MLG is using blockchain and other technologies to provide user-friendly, low-cost land administration systems. As a public benefit corporation, MLG pledge to promote economic development and full financial inclusion by helping individuals in developing countries to establish formal ownership of their property.

Zambia is a landlocked country in south-central Africa. Zambia is one of the most highly urbanized countries in sub-Saharan Africa with 44% of the population concentrated in a few urban areas along the major transport corridors, while rural areas are sparsely populated. About 60.5% of Zambians live below the recognized national poverty line, with rural poverty rates standing at about 77.9% and urban rates at about 27.5%. Like many other developing countries around the world, Zambia struggles with low levels of participation in formal land registry systems.

MLG signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the country’s Ministry of Land and Natural Resources to develop 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.

Ali El Husseini, CEO of Medici Land Governance, said that the partnership has the potential to be a real, sustainable game-changer in reducing poverty and supporting economic development on a large scale.

“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,” El Husseini said. “I look forward to a future where all land and property services — including utility payments, national and municipal tax collections, and mortgages — are managed on a secure, user-friendly system that provides equal access for all people.”

Patrick M. Byrne, Chairman of Medici Land Governance and founder and CEO of Overstock, said that a secure and decentralized land and property registry would allow individuals across all socioeconomic classes to build equity and leverage it to their benefit, as it has done in the West for generations.

“This agreement with the Zambian government is a tremendous leap toward a global economy that achieves trust through technology to the benefit of all people,” Byrne said.