In a surprising move towards innovation, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has partnered with open-source blockchain platform Tezos and crypto-focused software development firm Oxhead Alpha. Together, they are working on the development of a blockchain solution that aims to digitize car titles for California drivers and streamline title transfers between owners.
Ajay Gupta, the Chief Digital Officer at the California DMV, expressed the agency’s ambition to finalize a “shadow ledger” within the next three months. This ledger will replicate the state’s title database on the blockchain, paving the way for the creation of consumer-facing applications, including digital wallets capable of holding car title non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Gupta believes that this initiative will change the perception of the DMV as an agency lagging behind in technological advancements. In an exclusive interview with Fortune, he emphasized the agency’s commitment to embracing innovation.
The Potential of Blockchain for Car Titles Car titles have been identified as a potential “killer application” for blockchain technology, particularly in the realm of crypto. In 2020, a Cleveland-based startup raised $5 million to digitize titles, and the state of California published a report exploring blockchain pilots, with the DMV being one of the potential use cases.
The project in collaboration with Tezos and Oxhead Alpha began in early 2020, but faced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the DMV recognized the opportunity to leverage digital ledgers for modernizing its processes, with car title generation and transfers emerging as a prime area for innovation.
Andrew Smith, President of Oxhead Alpha, expressed his pleasant surprise at the enthusiasm displayed by the DMV under Gupta’s leadership. He described the current system as antiquated, relying on paper-based technology from the 18th century to combat transaction fraud in the 21st century. Smith sees the digitization of car titles and the ability to trace their movement as common-sense solutions brought forth by blockchain technology.