Saturday, March 25, 2023
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California’s Crypto-Based Car Titles Could Spell Chaos

'18th-century paper-based technology to solve 21st-century transaction fraud... '

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) The California Department of Motor Vehicles is transitioning vehicle owner’s titles over to digital NFTs on a private blockchain in a move that will allegedly cut costs and modernize the department.

Ajay Gupta, the state’s DMV chief digital officer, plans to move titles onto a Tezos blockchain to increase efficiency, allow transparency and reduce costs.

According to The Register, Gupta plans to duplicate the DMV’s title database onto the blockchain, which will eventually allow vehicle owners to store their NFT title on a mobile app. Ideally, this will make it easier to transfer titles between individuals and jurisdictions.

“The DMV’s perception of lagging behind should definitely change,” Gupta said.

The state is working with a private firm called Oxhead Alpha, which already completed a proof-of-concept database.

The group claims that they are “leveraging technology for the public good,” as well as providing a convenient system “for the efficient and secure transfer of vehicles between jurisdictions.”

The California DMV indicated that they are moving forward with the project and predict they will be implementing the database within the next few months.

“The use of blockchain will allow for a vehicle title to be a secure digital asset (a non-fungible token) that can be held in a DMV digital wallet,” said a representative for the DMV. “This digital asset eliminates the need for a paper title to be presented and provides for indisputable ownership of the asset.”

Neither the DMV nor Oxhead Alpha mention who will host the blockchain, how many nodes there are and who is performing the necessary validation processes.

The matter of the nodes is particularly important. If the DMV processes the nodes internally, the system is essentially the same, just on the internet; if the department outsources the tracking processes, that would raise concerns about security.

Skating over these concerns, Oxhead Alpha president Andrew Smith claimed the California DMV is currently using an “18th-century paper-based technology to solve 21st-century transaction fraud,” and argued that his firm will help solve these issues.

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