Document Type

Student Article


Blockchain has recently driven a financial revolution in the realm of virtual currencies, smart contracts, and escrow services. Over the last year, the technology has also been mentioned as a harbinger of change in real estate transactions and land title research. Speculation about the technology’s likely impact in various industries is more warranted in some instances than others. Goldman Sachs, for its part, has suggested that, like other industries which have benefitted from the transparency and efficiency of blockchain technology, the title insurance industry will experience a dramatic boost in the near future. This suggestion, however, fails to recognize both the efficiency already achieved by industry title plants and the extent of legal problems that arise during title research—very few of which blockchain holds promise of mitigating.

Public land titling offices, on the other hand, stand to gain significantly by adopting the technology. Because of blockchain’s decentralized and unalterable structure, the technology is useful for protecting records from natural disasters and government corruption. This Comment charts the real property legal issues that blockchain likely will and will not address. Developers and investors will find that understanding what blockchain can and cannot do for the real estate industry is crucial, because blockchain hype looms large and, as Bitcoin’s recently fluctuating prices prove, the way forward for blockchain investment can be uncertain.

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