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Overstock CEO unveils new venture on blockchain-based global property registry system

Overstock.com founder Patrick Byrne has announced a joint venture with renowned economist Hernando de Soto aimed at developing a blockchain-based global property registry system.

Due to the lack of standardized property records, a majority of the world population is not able to enter the modern global economy, De Soto noted. This, in turn, may drive the citizens of the developing countries to terrorist organizations for protection.

De Soto, founder and president of the Peru-based Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD), has been designing and implementing legal reforms, particularly in property rights, for the last 30 years. The goal is to empower the poor in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and former Soviet nations through programs that grant access to formal property rights.

The new company, De Soto, Inc., will build solutions to empower individuals through recognized property ownership by bringing together de Soto’s extensive experience and Overstock subsidiary Medici Ventures’ blockchain expertise.

According to the official release, the company is developing a blockchain-based system using mobile applications and social media integration for local property records. In doing so, it will create a global repository on which ownership and transfer can be based. The system aims to promote the interests of people who are currently operating extra-legally, as well as multinational corporations who are trying to cooperate with local owners.

“Hernando’s work has demonstrated that secure ownership of property is a catalyst that sets into motion the engine of progress, creating enormous wealth in the process. From my first public talks on blockchain I emphasized that blockchain’s application to property could lift billions out of poverty. Hernando and I intend to use blockchain technology to empower and enfranchise the five billion people who live outside formal economies within five years,” said Byrne.

The first pilot program is expected to launch in early 2018.

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