Inadequate and ill-adapted property institutions in the third world prevent the extralegal assets of the poor from serving as capital. In particular, the absence of credible systems of title transfer makes real estate holdings ineffective as collateral for loans. How can this barrier to wealth creation be surmounted? Country-by-country institutional reform is possible, but inevitably slow. New options based on computer networks and trusted computational agents may provide a shorter path. By leveraging trust in first-world institutions while enabling the evolution of contractual arrangements that fit local needs and traditions, this approach could bring advanced property systems to regions now paralyzed by their absence.