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  • How Bitcoin Will End World Poverty- Interview

    SINGER: Okay. The Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru, I really think Hernando de Soto should win the Nobel prize for the work he’s done. I hope he does. But he’s going around the world and identified one of the most powerful things to the economy and the creation of wealth. And that is the ownership of property. FORBES: Which you can then use as collateral.  Read More
  • Why Thomas Piketty is wrong about capital in the 21st century

    Thomas Piketty’s book Capital In The Twenty-First Century has attracted worldwide attention, not because he crusades against inequality –many of us do that– but because of its central thesis, based on his reading of the 19th and 20th centuries, that capital “mechanically produces arbitrary, unsustainable inequalities”, inevitably leading the world to misery, violence and wars and will continue to do so in this century. Read More
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There is good news for the world’s venture capitalists and poor alike – a new blockchain advocacy group, the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), was launched at the 2017 World Economic Forum late last week. Announced in Davos, Switzerland, the council will serve as a resource center, providing a forum for education, collaboration and partnerships with business and government. Originally developed for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, blockchain is a remarkable open-source software that records transactions chronologically and publicly.

The announcement is promising for people in the developing world, as blockchain technology can provide an innovative new method to establish property rights. The potential of this is made clear by co-founder and renowned Peruvian economist Hernando De Soto. As a long-time advocate of establishing property rights for the poor, De Soto’s studies have estimated that over 5 billion people worldwide lack legal title to land, comprising $10 trillion dollars’ worth of untapped capital. This is commonly due to inadequate systems of land titling that are complex, incomplete, and rife with governmental fraud and abuse. “Where ownership of most assets is difficult to trace and validate and is governed by no legally recognizable set of rules,” de Soto wrote, “most assets, in short, are dead capital.”

Establishing a system of efficient, transparent property rights would allow the world’s poor to leverage their inherent assets, spurring greater access to finance. One of the greatest obstacles to this, however, is weak and predatory government. That’s where the blockchain comes in. As a distributed public ledger that can log land titles digitally, blockchain provides a more transparent and efficient alternative to slow, bureaucratic governments. Land and property fraud would no longer be so easy, as officials would leave an obvious digital trail if they tampered with records. As the blockchain company Factom’s CEO Peter Kirby has noted, developing nations often lack accountability and necessary infrastructure to credibly administer land titles. Kirby found that in Honduras, for example, title records were stored in a “nasty old government building with no door,” enabling bureaucrats to assign themselves beachfront property. Instituting an online, tamper-proof land titling system would allow poorer nations to establish the necessary infrastructure to formalize property. Equally as important, blockchain has the potential to be widely accessible, as anyone with a smartphone and Internet connection can download a complete copy of the software.

This community led bottom-up approach has been described as the “digitization” of De Soto’s thesis. As CEI’s Iain Murray has pointed out, “development of the blockchain for property recording and titling would significantly reduce both the transaction costs and the widespread corruption associated with government-controlled titling systems.”

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Read the full article on the website of Competitive Enterprise Institute

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