Bitland Uganda, a subsidiary of Bitland Global, launched in Uganda in June 2017. At that time, many in Uganda had little or no knowledge about Blockchain.
But, thanks to the dramatic rise and fluctuation of Bitcoin price – which made it dominate news across the globe – as well as the Africa Blockchain Conference organized earlier this year, many can now say they have a basic understanding of Blockchain.
If you do not know Bitland, it is a blockchain powered land registry system. It seeks to help communities resolve any land conflicts.
Thus, Bitland Uganda portal is a software upgrade built on top of the Bitland Global software. The aim is to “cater for the unique land tenure issues of Uganda.”
“Bitland [Global] exists to provide the backbone in the effort to unlock land capital through the democratization of real property ownership utilizing leading-edge technology,” the company states on its website.
In a bid to scale its solution, the Bitland expanded to Uganda through a partnership with the Blockchain Asset Group Uganda Ltd.
“Bitland Uganda is in partnership with Bitland Global to implement a land registry Blockchain in Uganda,” said Edgar Mwambutsa. The head of partnerships at Blockchain Asset Group Uganda.
Christopher Bates, the Chief Security Officer at Bitland Global, told me in an interview – over a month ago – that partnerships are their best way of scaling.
“Getting people involved from the beginning and having them influence how the program evolves is the best way we found to make things work wherever we are going,” Bates said.
“The fact that Bitland here [in Uganda] is run by a Ugandan person, he knows the local culture, so he knows what people’s problems are.”
In May this year, Bitland Uganda was one of the startups that exhibited at the Africa Blockchain Conference. Something Edgar thinks is an achievement.
They have also gone ahead and engaged both the ministry of lands as well as the lands commission according to Edgar. This is all happening at a time when land grabbing is a hot topic in the country.
And Edgar believes that these problems can only be solved by “an immutable, tamper-proof software” that Bitland Uganda is building.
“[We] presented the solution before the Land Inquiry Commission chaired by Lady Justice Bamugemereire and the Minister of Lands, Housing, and Urban Devt, Hon. Betty Amongi,” Edgar wrote in an email. And “all are eager to work with Bitland Uganda”.
If the partnership with the ministry of lands is secured, then Bitland Uganda will be responsible for providing a software that will ensure no one can tamper with land titles and documents of land ownership anymore.
“The relationship with Ministry of Lands primarily will focus on providing a tamper-proof, immutable land registry software, if our potential partnership receives Government approval.”
Aside from the fact that no one will be able to tamper with the documents anymore, the government also stands to collect its fees with more ease. This will cut costs and also ensure more revenue is realized in the end.
“Through registration of private land on the Blockchain and when approved by Government, the solution makes it easier for Government to collect revenue through land registrations, stamp duty fees, and all other land registry fees.”
Besides Uganda, Bitland Global has so far spread its wings beyond Ghana into three other countries. That’s Nigeria, South Africa, and Mauritius. Though, in some, they are piloting.
Bates also told me that “Tanzania, Cameroon, and Rwanda are the next most likely expansions” for Bitland Global.
At the same time, they are also trying to avoid rapid expansion at the same time as it may have its own adverse effects.
“What we are trying to do is not get in the spot where we are overextending ourselves but also making sure that when we go into a place, the results are good. So that people don’t say ‘look, these people went into Rwanda and the results got worse'”