In my free time, I enjoy hopping on a racing bike and, unfortunately, I have had one stolen in the past. This is why I would like to explain further the idea of a public register for saving property rights using the example of bicycles. Imagine, a manufacturer provides a bicycle with a serial number and records this in a blockchain. As soon as a dealer purchases this bicycle, the manufacturer transfers the ownership of this bicycle to the dealer via the blockchain. The dealer does the same when he sells the bicycle. Now imagine that you want to sell a second-hand bicycle. Using the serial number, you can easily check via an app or website whether the person selling you a bicycle is indeed the owner of the bicycle. Following the sale, the owner can easily transfer ownership to you. This seems to me an effective weapon in the fight against theft and the handling of stolen goods (as it would now be simple to demonstrate that someone purchased a stolen bicycle that he could have known was stolen).
However, I don’t simply want to ignore the privacy issue. Of course, the idea that just anyone can look up the ownership of a particular bicycle is not a very appealing one. However, there is a solution to this. It is possible to design a blockchain in such a way that only the owner is able to demonstrate that the bicycle belongs to him. With a blockchain like this, the blockchain can only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and the only question you can ask is: Does this bicycle belong to me?
But this type of hypothetical blockchain remains subject to what is known as pseudonymisation; pseudonymisation that is reversible. I’m not a legal expert, but judging from everything I have read thus far I believe that the right to be forgotten applies here. Consequently, the legal applications of a public blockchain remain very limited, at least within the EU. Nevertheless, the use of private blockchains, like PicaPro, is possible. It may be possible to scale this up in the future to a public blockchain for saving transparent, incontestable and accessible agreements.