Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bitcoin Blockchain and Land Ownership

You may think what does Bitcoin and land ownership have in common? Well it might be Blockchain. Blockchain is a ledger system, which tracks transactions securely in a very insecure internet environment. A blockchain database consists of blocks and transactions. The blocks contain batches of transactions that are “hashed” and encoded. This electronically marks a transaction, and each block contains the hash of the block before it, which links the two and forms the chain. This process validates each block, all the way back to the original, and is integral to the database’s security. Blockchains are shared on numerous computers at the same time, so a hacker would have to have access to every computer to steal the data or undermine it. The technology is highly used in a volatile crypto currencies like Bitcoin How could blockchain be used for land ownership and property rights.? Currently, governments keep records of who owns a certain piece of land or property, and the owners may or may not have a piece of paper to prove it. Owners often don’t, so they rely on title insurance companies and governments agencies who have access to the prior sales, or change in ownership. Government records can be lost or manipulated. It has not been done on a grand scale thus far, but if a hacker could make money on it they will look into this easily accessible manipulable paper trail, and steal land. The blockchain could house the land transaction electronically and more securely than a stored pdf file. The chain could track an entire property transaction to prove which parties were involved and what they agreed to in the original contract which could be verified by a blockchain database that is stored securely on the ledger. Blockchain could make pdf files obsolete. Anyother area blockchain can work is in medical records. More and more people are traveling the globe, but if one got sick how does a foreign doctor know your medical records? He doesn’t today, but an international blockchain system could keep your records secure so any healthcare professional can view them and know how to treat you from anywhere around the globe.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Tale of Two Tracks

Currently the largest infrastructure project is both in limbo and at full-speed ahead. The Cal Rail Authority’s has a long term plan to run 500 miles from San Francisco to San Jose before turning to the valley and south to Los Angeles. The fast train is expected to take 2 ½ hour and be well under one hundred dollars, maybe under fifty. They will need a lot of riders to cover the current 64 Billion price tag and ongoing operation costs. The target is limited service from San Francisco to Bakersfield will launch in 2025. The world will have crowned two world cup champions by then. That is not far away. That will entail a lot of digging between San Francisco and San Jose. That is expensive real estate within two major California municipalities. Money: Money from Washington is critical for Jerry Brown’s dream project which can’t be funded alone by state and private financing. The government in Sacramento is at polar odds with the White House. The House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, sent a letter this since the inauguration to The Department of Transportation, requesting a halt Fed funds and grants for the electrification of Caltrain’s Bay Area corridor. This upgrade is essential for the high speed rail. Right now Fresno is booming with construction. Hwy 99 is being diverted to accommodate the rail line. Bridges are being built, homes relocated, roads changed, thousands of acres of land has been bought. Dirt is flying everywhere and Fresno is benefiting. This project has been going on since 2015, but lawsuits and land acquisitions have set things back. Wait until they get to a major city. California approved this dream in 2008, and costs have almost doubled since then. When has the government done anything under budget? It the project runs out of money and the federal government withdraws then the rail must be handed over to Amtrak. Could this be the most expensive Amtrak upgrade? Will California seek funds from abroad? If that funding comes from China then they may require China steel and Chinese trains. This is not like building the transcontinental railroad in the 1800’s with undeveloped land making the “Big Four” the richest in the west. At some point the steam will come to a head.