Illinois Moving Forward with Blockchain Pilots; Singapore: Latest Country to Develop a Regulatory Sandbox to Promote Energy Innovation; LO3 Energy Developing Blockchain-Powered Microgrid Technology to Australia
There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries from finance and healthcare to real estate and supply chain management. Reports estimate that over $1.4 billion was invested in blockchain startups in 2016 alone, and many institutions and companies are forming partnerships to explore how blockchain ledgers and smart contracts can be deployed to manage and share data, create transactional efficiencies, and reduce costs.
Illinois Moving Forward with Blockchain Pilots
The Illinois Blockchain Initiative (“IBI”), which was formed to study applications of blockchain technology for government services, is moving ahead with five pilot programs. According to a recent article, the pilots selected by the IBI will study how blockchain technology can be used in the following five areas: (1) property deed recording: (2) validating academic credentials; (3) creation of a single state-wide health provider registry; (4) securing vital records (beginning with birth certificates); and (5) creating a renewable energy credit marketplace.
The pilot making the most progress thus far is the property deed recording registry, which is being developed through a partnership with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds (“CCRD”). The goal of the pilot is to consolidate property information that is currently maintained across various government offices into a single shared ledger. According to a report issued earlier this year by the CCRD, preliminary findings indicate that the transition to a blockchain network could lead to enhanced liquidity, accuracy, immutability, and efficiency within the real-estate industry. Blockchain-based land registries could also help reduce development and due diligence costs for energy infrastructure projects that require significant land holdings and access rights.
However, the report also highlighted a number of hurdles, including heavy implementation costs and the need for multiple parties to “buy in.” The cost of replacing legacy systems is often cited as an obstacle to blockchain solutions, but the CCRD report concludes that “the payoff appears to be worth the effort.”