SA govt eyes blockchain to link eConveyancing systems

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SA govt eyes blockchain to link eConveyancing systems

As new operators end PEXA's monopoly.

The South Australian government is looking at how distributed ledger technology might be used to allow the systems of different Electronic Lodgement Network Operators (ELNOs) to talk when completing eConveyancing transactions.

The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) has put out the call for information to understand the “feasibility” of the technology to address future interoperability issues that will arise after new ELNOs enter the state.

It wants to find a solution that will allow eConveyancing transactions to be completed using different electronic lodgement network (ELN) systems, which are used for the “preparation and lodgement of land title dealings ... as well as settle the associate financial transfer of funds”.

“DLT would support ELNs to process a dealing (or set of dealings) and allow subscribers to use common credentials to systems in the electronic conveyancing ecosystem,” the department said in its request for information.

While Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) is the only ELNO currently operating in SA, two new providers Purcell Partners and Sympli Australia have been assessed by the Australian Registrars National Electronic Conveyancing Council.

Both operators are currently in the process of negotiating with each state and territory registrar for approval, with Sympli currently looking to go live in SA during Quarter 4.

However, the entry of new operators creates problems for all states and territories that use ELNOs, as currently “all parties to a multi-party dealing must interact in the same ELNO” to complete transactions.

“Barriers exist to allowing a vendor's conveyancer and the purchaser's conveyancer to use different ELNO systems to complete a dealing. They do not, in essence, interoperate with each other,” the department said.

“This challenge exists in all States and Territories that use ELNOs and, due to the transition in South Australia towards electronic conveyancing pressure is mounting to solve the issues surrounding interoperability.”

DPTI said initial research had suggested that “a DLT based approach could provide a solution to the issues of multi ELNO interoperability”.

“The project seeks to explore the potential to build a solution in South Australia that could be used nationally.

“This work aligns with the current interest in DLT and provides a problem on which to collaborate.”

With a burgeoning local blockchain industry, the government is keen to work with “locally-based businesses to test the viability of a solution”, but will also consider submission from out-of-state entities.

The department is planning to hold a DLT Industry Forum next month.

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