The project addresses the use of technology for improving land administration. It focusses on legal and regulatory issues of blockchain technology from a broader perspective, bringing together administrative law, constitutional law, human rights law, environmental law, and public international law. The project is the first of its kind to comprehensively address legal and regulatory issues in blockchain governance in developing countries. The project considers and analyses blockchain as a means to the Right to Development, blockchain as a green land tech application, blockchain governance as an enabler of Social tenure domain models in land administration, and blockchain as a technology that challenges jurisdiction and territorial sovereignty of nations. The project utilises mixed methods, i.e. doctrinal research, socio-legal research and product development, and uses methodological triangulation as a means to coherence in mixed methods research. The first output of this project is in the form of a White Paper advising the Nigerian government agency (NITDA) on proposals for future legislation.
Blockchain Technology is the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies, the most famous one being bitcoin. It's applications lie beyond crypto currencies and in any domain that handles records and ledgers. Hence, a country's land registers, its patent and trademark registers, national identity registers, health records, and so on can be secured through blockchain. Any transactions on these records can be made much more secure than on any other current system, and be widely available for viewing, if transparency is key. Whereas if privacy is necessary, these records can also be secured by blockchains through appropriate designing. From a private sector perspective too, blockchain has a range of applications, from tracking food from farm to fork, enabling supply chain transparency, to providing secure school or university certificates, in financial services, the list is potentially endless. The management of blockchain though is spread around in different countries, i.e. it is done by anybody with the requisite software skills and can get on the blockchain as a participant. There is no central authority controlling its day to day activity. This is celebrated by some as the virtue of decentralisation, and is cautioned by others, as is coined as a risk for governance. Different interests, both on and off the blockchain needs to be protected, and therefore careful consideration needs to be given before public services are 'blockchained', so to speak. This research addresses these questions, and considers at what points blockchain needs to be regulated. It goes way beyond any other current literature on the subject of using blockchain for land administration. It addresses the need for proper regulation of the building of the blockchain technology, as part and parcel of considering an appropriate legal and regulatory framework for blockchain technology in land administration via a blockchain-based land register, and blockchain for other non-register land administration business processes.
The legal framework for governing blockchain technology is inadequate. Blockchain technology is not currently being viewed as national infrastructure, but it should be categorised as national infrastructure, and should be regulated via regulation on core developer activity. Primary legislation should be used to bring core development activity within the purview of Nigerian law. Secondary legislation is required to regulate blockchain architecture improvements and blockchain forking. A new blockchain, nominally labelled 'Nigereum' is proposed. A permissionless blockchain designed on Ethereum will enable Lagos and Abuja lands bureaus to test this technology and adopt it for operational use. The research identifies key models of blockchain for land administration in Nigeria and recommends a pilot by Lagos and FCT Abuja Lands Bureau using the Minimum Viable Product developed by the team.
|Short title||A Blockchain for Nigeria|
|Effective start/end date||15/04/23 → 31/07/23|
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