Tech Transformers

Richard Branson: Blockchain could create ‘economic revolution’ in emerging markets

Blockchain technology could bring an "economic revolution" in many developing countries where proving ownership of assets or getting access to capital is difficult, Virgin Group founder and billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson said on Monday.

Branson referenced the work of well-known economist Hernando de Soto, who recently announced a partnership wtih bitcoin and blockchain company BitFury and the Republic of Georgia's National Agency of Public Registry, to trial a land titling program.

Blockchain works like a huge, decentralized ledger for the digital currency bitcoin which records every transaction and stores this information on a global network so it cannot be tampered with. It's this technology that banks feel can be utilized in areas from remittances to securities exchanges.

Richard Branson
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The technology can be used to keep an immutable record of ownership and has been trialed for banks to carry out the trading of assets.

In developed markets, proving ownership of land is easy. But in many developing markets, this can be difficult.

"If you take somewhere like Egypt, 90 percent of people have got houses, they've got a garden, but they've got no piece of paper to show ownership of that ... And without ownership of your property, it's almost impossible to start a business or get a bank loan or anything," Branson told an audience at the "Virgin Disruptors" event in London.

Branson added that the use of blockchain technology could create a "real .. .economic revolution in these countries that would be stagnating."

It's not the first time Branson has spoken about blockchain technology. The entrepreneur has hosted the "Blockchain Summit" on his private Necker Island for the last two years.