71point4 supports blockchain pilot for housing in South Africa

13 November 2019 Consultancy.co.za 2 min. read

Blockchain technology is permeating to the real estate sector in South Africa, exemplified by a recent pilot project being developed collaboratively by strategic research consultancy 71point4, the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance (CAHF) Africa, and blockchain development firm Seso Global.

The project is aimed at promoting more efficient record keeping in South Africa’s social housing sector. While the government has been building houses for a number of years now, the registration process has considerable gaps in it, particularly when it comes to the transfer of title deeds with ownership.

The CAHF reports that less 60% of the government-built houses have been subject to registration. Poorly reported title deeds have repercussions for present owners of the property, who find themselves unable to obtain mortgages and other ownership benefits. The three entities have stumbled upon blockchain as the potential answer to these issues.

Renowned for its ability to record data in a decentralised, reliable and highly transparent fashion, blockchain technology has grown in popularity across South Africa, and appears to be a suitable solution in this regard. 71point4 is a Cape-Town-based research consultancy that examines consumer data for its research to provide insights.

71point4 supports blockchain pilot for housing in South Africa

The firm will provide the analytical expertise for the project, while Sebo Global will provide the blockchain knowhow. The project is on a pilot basis for a potentially more widespread roll out at a later point. For now, the project entails handling the registration for 1,000 government properties that are situated in Cape Town.

“To create a register of property owners we first had to go door to door to find out who lives in each property and to establish how they came to be there,” explained Illana Melzer, Engagement Manager at 71point4. Details will be entered in the blockchain database, where Seso’s solution will also record transactions thereafter.

“For the time being, property owners will record these transactions at the Transaction Support Centre, a walk-in housing advice office created by CAHF and 71point4 located in the area. But over time, we will record transactions through the Seso app,” added Daniel Bloch, CEO at Seso Global.

As blockchain technology takes off in popularity across all business segments, an increasing number of pilots are being rolled out to examine the true potential of the technology. Last year, financial services institution Standard Bank completed a successful blockchain pilot that facilitated cross-border exchange of information.