Why Your Car Title Needs a New Home: Putting it on the Ethereum Blockchain
Since humans were able, we’ve kept records of as much as we possibly could. Starting from cave drawings then jumping forward in time like a Delorean, (because we’re not trying to immerse you in a history lesson), to the current traditional paper records we mostly rely on today. (Ex. birth certificates, educational degrees.)
Even though our computer technology has advanced exponentially, there are still a lot of record-keeping systems that seem a little archaic. While we could delve into the numerous facilities, companies, and other operations that still engage in outdated systems, why let one article have all the fun? Let’s talk about cars… Because who doesn’t like or need a car?
Car ownership records can be quite the fickle thing. You may purchase a car where a person says they’re the sole owner of said vehicle, and they may even vehemently state this as fact. But little do you know that their younger cousin owned it for a year and knocked it around a few times, only to have the repairs done by his Pop, the mechanic. This is a less than desirable situation to be in, and as a consumer, one of your purchasing nightmares.
This leads us to blockchain technology. Imagine a world where all titles and ownership of vehicles had to be placed onto the blockchain… This would undoubtedly force honesty from owners as these records cannot be tampered with, and they would also protect each owner’s rights.
For any kind of high-value property such as cars, (and the more expensive, the more valuable), accurate records of current ownership and proof of ownership are paramount. These records are used to protect the owner in case of theft, resolve disputes, make sure the transfer of ownership is done decorously, and prevents sale fraud.
Precision and completeness are crucial in preventing unauthorized fraudulent changes, and in the case of paper record keeping, or even third party businesses and holders, there are too many proverbial cooks in the kitchen. Mistakes are often happenstance and sometimes these records are not preserved in a systematic way. Therefore, keeping track of car property ownership through a distributed system that doesn’t rely on trust resolves these issues. Consensus can be established using the blockchain, (which keeps records of previous transactions), and Proof-of-Work, which makes changing historic records prohibitively costly. Correctness is also guaranteed by protocol rules and the owner could be identified using public key cryptography. And with the globally recognized blockchain technology, this solves any miscommunication issues that may arise across state and country lines.
Other benefits of Ethereum’s technology are smart contracts. Exchanging owners and executing contractual clauses will be definite, exact, and will remove any doubt of ownership with smart contract tech. A family member may even want to negotiate an agreement where in the event of a death, the deceased owner’s car title can automatically get transferred over to an already appointed member of the family. While this may seem cold and calculated, it does quite the opposite by expediting necessary changes during emotional hardships. The last thing people want to engage in after a death, is transferring property titles from their deceased loved ones. Smart contracts can facilitate necessary changes without any inconvenience to the parties involved.