Dec 3, 2021

Anton Glotser, CEO of DelNorte, spoke to Irish Tech News about his work in Honduras, where he has set out to decentralise record-keeping technology for the countries real estate and land.

Anton Glotser, CEO of DelNorte, spoke to Irish Tech News about his work in Honduras, where he has set out to decentralise record-keeping technology for the countries real estate and land.

He explains why the technology has taken so long to take off and what impact global politics has on the speed at which decentralised record-keeping technology is implemented as well as how transparent it will make property ownership.

Q&A With Anton Glotser, CEO of DelNorte

Q: You’ve tapped into a problem and that’s paper contracts aren’t corruption-proof. Starting in Honduras you’ve set out to decentralise record-keeping technology for the country’s real estate and land, which is designed to instil trust in the authenticity of digital transactions.

Give us a little background leading up to how you got there and what phase DelNorte is in with the government-supported project.

A: Since the launch of the Honduras National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2016 – 2020) (ENIF – in Spanish) as of October 2015, progress has been made in several areas that have facilitated the advancement of financial inclusion but there is still quite a bit of work to be made to educate the overall population.

When analyzing the financial market and its interaction with the customers of the financial system, the ENIF establishes that the demand is being affected by two great elements: mistrust and lack of financial literacy, which in turn, generate the barriers that block financial inclusion.

For some of the population, the land where their family have cultivated is perceived as a valuable and bankable asset. But it is highly challenging to establish that worth because the systems are either outdated and or there is little information about the legal procedures for the acquisition of property deeds.

Ensuring land titles are on a blockchain creates reassurance. Blockchain is a new mechanism of trust with the ability to deliver significant productivity gains to multiple industries, in fact, the IFC has said that merging markets may be poised for more rapid adoption of blockchain due to their underbanked populations, higher banking risks, and lower bank penetration. And blockchain may be critical to mitigating the de-risking by financial institutions that is impacting emerging markets.

Honduras has been considered for many years as a paradise in the middle of Central America. Its central location, the high investment in roads, and numerous airports allow efficient transportation to and throughout the country, with easy access to islands, beaches, mountains, traditional towns, cities, and much more.

The low cost of living compared to developed countries has also generated high interest among people of retirement age seeking to enjoy a life of comfort.

Since 2018 we were having meetings with government officials, developing relationships, providing fact-based evidence, the first contract to digitise the deeds and titles was awarded. Our pilot project was built and will be up and running in Honduras in late January 2022. It’s an important moment in the history of Honduras with a female-led administration. We anticipate a progressive move towards tech-based investors like DelNorte TerraVision.

Q: What are the implications for real estate and land development where proof of ownership is always in question? Implications for owners, investors, and also governments at a global scale?

A: The benefit of having your titles on the blockchain is the data becomes transparent and immutable. As this data is already public information, the public exposure of who owns what should not be a hindrance to owners.

The difference of having a paper document and a digital one that records all activities on a decentralised ledger (aka blockchain) is that any and all changes to the data are recorded and owners of the digital document (NFT title) can authorise and see the changes in real time, so fraud and forgery become virtually impossible.

Increasing news about Latin American’s acceptance of blockchain technology and digitising real estate transactions like the announcement that “La Haus, a Latin American property tech startup backed by Bezos Expeditions, will accept Bitcoin for real estate transactions through its app” is a good sign. It means that people are becoming more educated about the tech and they see the benefit.

Q: Why has it taken so long to take off since the technology has been around for a while now?

A: Well it is true the technology has been around for over a decade, while most people have probably heard about bitcoin and maybe ethereum since 2017, I think the sentiment that this is the technology of the future rather than volatile currency has only now in 2021 begun to change.

Early on, DelNorte TerraVision has shown its product to multiple investors and public office stakeholders, and generally, there is positive feedback which we believe will lead to contractual commitments. It is now impossible to ignore the benefit of technological advancement in financial services.

Q: How does global politics play into the speed at which decentralised-record-keeping technology is implemented?

A: I believe that the millennial generation is already on board with the benefits of working with new tech ideas and products. The “early adopters” term mainly refers to an older generation. Ideally, through public/private partnerships with companies like DelNorte TerraVision, there can be a fast growth rate in blockchain for emerging markets.

Q: You have the agenda-setting powers controlling the world’s banks, associated with a country’s credit ratings, and the aim of removing a centralised source of information, meaning profiting from corruption, or politically motivated data control, linked to real estate will essentially be dead.

Has this impacted your progress? How will this play out as more countries turn to this tech as the single source of truth when it comes to contracts?

A: Yes, initially when I told bankers four years ago what I planned on doing, their reply was usually “good luck with that” followed by a smirk or a laugh. I think today they take my proposals a lot more seriously.

As far as competition with the traditional way of doing things, this is very simple, the best and easiest solution always wins out long term because people will always gravitate towards convenience, simplicity and savings.

Q: The tech is a lot more than just securing property contracts across a decentralised network, you’re tapping into a lot of other sub-sets of service possibilities in a secure network.

Can you talk about this, things like property identification where no address exists and monitoring resources? What are the implications of transparency? How transparent will this make property ownership?

A: So to address the physical location question first, it is true that many parts of the world don’t have systematic numerical identification of location. It makes navigation difficult, especially for postal or courier services.

However, parcel numbers do exist, and identifying properties by these numbers and then plotting them on a map makes for a much more precise location. Our NFT technology does this, thus making navigation GPS and otherwise much easier.

As far transparency, this tech will certainly make deliveries a lot easier, especially futuristic ones where drones or smart cars can just navigate to a parcel rather than directions. As far as transparency in ownership, since DelNorte TerraVision NFTs can theoretically hold an unlimited number and variety of data, finding out who owns what will be as simple as scanning someone’s ID, or face or some other identification parameter.

These are all technologies that already come with the average smartphone. In the near future, this level of security and transparency will be standard and the generation growing up with this technology now will think of our current method of physical paper documents and records as archaic akin to stone age technology.

Q: Honduras is ‘leap frogging’ as they call it across technologies by adopting a country-wide approach to decentralising contracts, they’re the first among neighbouring countries, right? What will this mean for them as first-out innovators and you as the company that was first to market?

A: There have certainly been other contenders, but it seems like it will take time. Our primary goal as the pioneer in this space within Latin America is to showcase the technology and the immediate benefits this will bring to the general population.

This is where we can make the most impact. While blockchain technology is not the miracle to all land administration challenges, it can offer an effective means to manage land transactions, provide digital documentation to actors in the informal land rental market and reduce inefficiency in land systems. However, the uptake of the technology in land administration is limited by human-related factors.

About Anton Glotser

Anton Glotser started in Real Estate, working on multi-million dollar commercial and residential development and acquisition projects. He’s held executive-level roles at fortune 500 real estate development firms and invested in cryptocurrency.

The culmination of his professional background and business interests developed into Delnorte Holdings inc., the only blockchain fintech product company in the world that develops hardware-based title and property ownership management transaction endorsement protocol.

The company was formalized in 2019, and since the official launch, Anton is working with Latin American governments, primarily Honduras, to digitize commercial and residential property and recognize NFT as a valid instrument.