Baltimore is using distributed-ledger tech to track 14,000 vacant properties, building off initiatives to address a growing housing crisis.

An aerial view shows Baltimore rowhomes. (Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

The Greater Baltimore Committee, Mayor Brandon Scott’s administration and BUILD Baltimore, an interfaith community organizing group, announced a plan this week to develop blockchain software to record 14,000 vacant properties across the municipality. 

The city hired Medici Land Governance, which uses cryptography, artificial intelligence and geographic data to standardize and digitize public land ownership records.

“This new technology is going to help expedite the fantastic work that is already happening to tackle vacant housing in Baltimore,” the coalition said in a joint statement after the announcement. “Adopting this tech is about helping to bring City government into the 21st century and utilizing every tool at our disposal to bolster our work.”

Officials said the new software will integrate with the city’s existing recording system by duplicating the data and publishing it online, aiming to expedite the transfer of property rights and make it easier to address fraud related to title fraud.


Officials also said the distributed-ledger technology will also reduce costs because permanent and immutable records allow titling to be certified and verified in one place, as opposed to the current system, which involves multiple transactions for a single property.

The project comes shortly after the city announced an estimated $3 billion plan to revive thousands of vacant and abandoned homes.

Sophia Fox-Sowell

Written by Sophia Fox-Sowell

Sophia Fox-Sowell reports on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and government regulation for StateScoop. She was previously a multimedia producer for CNET, where her coverage focused on private sector innovation in food production, climate change and space through podcasts and video content. She earned her bachelor’s in anthropology at Wagner College and master’s in media innovation from Northeastern University.

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