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Italian Notarchain: Too Many Problems, Too Few Solutions

Vsevolod Gnetii

By the end of September, a two-day hackathon with the top players in the sphere of high technologies will be held in Italy with the purpose of in-depth study and identification of the legal and information-communication aspects of the Notarchain platform.

The creation of a network of Italian notaries based on the blockchain technology, Notarchain, was announced at the National Congress of Italian Notaries in October 2017. Representatives of the notarial community assumed the obligation to transfer the experimental developments practice, by launching Notarchain before the end of 2018. The complexity of the project is that in the notary sphere the blockchain technology must ensure exchange of registers containing credentials that are compatible with the features of the notarial activity.

First of all, the platform should not be of an open type, "permissionless", open for any miner, and nodes should be reserved for qualified subjects. Another problem is to create a blockchain of joint use, but independent of the technological partner, in order to avoid dependence on the owner of the server.

In any case, according to Giampaolo MARCOZ, the national adviser of the Notary with authority in the field of communications and informatics, "it is impossible to transfer state acts into the blockchain since Italian state registers are based, like in all countries, on civil law, that is, on guarantees of the state to preserve notarial deeds, as well as to place the certified documents on the registers".

One of the difficulties is that the smart contract, unlike the traditional state registers, does not allow making amendments and changes to the notarial deeds. One way to overcome difficulties is to use a notarial blockchain in the real economy, for example, in the field of haute couture or food production chain through the digital identity of the client. In addition, the use of blockchain in the notary system can bring additional benefits by adding, for example, the purchase and sale of the real estate, additional information relating to the real estate tax, payment for utility services, and maintenance costs of an estate to the state act - operations involving various actors that could be connected to the blockchain.

With the help of the blockchain technology, a notary would be able to transfer payments for electricity to a new owner when registering the purchase and sale deed. Such an additional service does not affect the purchase and sale deed but provides the customer-purchaser with an additional service.

A similar system is being developed for condominium payments, that is, for the expenses related to the maintenance of real estate. However, in the absence of a single national association of condominium managers, it is necessary that all managers of condominiums join the blockchain.

It is due to the complexities and limitations that smart contracts in the notary sphere cause not only lively and genuine interest but also a fair share of skepticism.

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