Active Japanese akita dog runs for a walk

Akita dog society turns to blockchain for pedigree certificates

The Akita Inu Preservation Society has confirmed issuing digital pedigree certificates for Akita dogs in Japan using blockchain technology, marking a pivot from paper-based certificates.

Pedigree certificates are official documents detailing the ancestry of dogs, containing relevant information, including a family tree and the purity of the breed.

Based in Akita Prefecture, the society is keen on eliminating forgery incidents by dishonest dog breeders in the region by turning to blockchain. Apart from forgery incidents, paper-based pedigree certificates suffer from a raft of issues, including missing documents in transit and overseas verification issues.

To achieve digitization, the Akita Inu Preservation Society enlisted local IT firm Meta Akita Inc. to develop the ledger in partnership with U.S.-based technology firm Heirloom Inc.

Yuki Shoji, a board member of the dog society noted that the new blockchain-based issuance system will revolutionize the breeding and sale of the popular breed in Japan. Shoji added that the new system will significantly reduce the wait times for owners seeking pedigree certificates by up to two weeks.

New owners have to make a formal application on the society’s website or mobile app, with the digital versions delivered in record time to members compared to previous paper-based methods.

“In addition to the convenience of digitalization, we hope that owners will also have peace of mind in knowing that their dog is purebred,” said Shoji.

The Akita Inu Preservation Society says it turned to blockchain for issuance due to its immutability and transparency characteristics while maintaining high levels of privacy for users. The push came on the heels of a complaint surrounding a forged pedigreed document from China against the society in early 2024.

Outside of decentralized finance (DeFi), Japan has found multiple use cases for blockchain, ranging from non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to using the technology to solve rising artificial intelligence (AI) copyright cases.

Digital certificates gather steam

Several jurisdictions are exploring the concept of blockchain-based digital certificates to improve efficiency while reducing instances of fraud. Nigeria is turning to the technology for its National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program while sailors in the Philippines are leaning on the technology for cross-border functionalities.

In 2022, the United Kingdom Parliament introduced a new bill to confer legality to digital documents on distributed ledgers.

“The U.K. was central to establishing the international trade system in the nineteenth century, and we are once again leading the world to boost global trade in the twenty-first century,” said Digital Secretary Michelle Donelan at the time.

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