Imagine this: Homeowners no longer need to buy title insurance. The chronology of ownership and claims for every piece of property in a jurisdiction are on an unhackable, constantly updated, always current ledger.
Or this: Governments, companies and individuals can transfer funds from their banks to another bank or party instantly — without any administrative holding period or fee.
If these sound like future projects, they’re not. They’re both here-and-now developments using an underlying technology called blockchain. Cook County, Ill., is using it to build a land records ledger. Seven of Europe’s largest banks are buying into a blockchain that IBM is putting together for financial institutions. Beyond that, in the wake of questions about the security of voting systems during the 2016 presidential election, many believe blockchain technology will be the answer to securing future elections, allowing them to be audited in real time.