What Could Blockchain Do for Politics?
Ginni Rometty, Chief Executive Officer of IBM, says ‘What the internet did for communications, blockchain will do for trusted transactions.’
One of the most fundamental and essential aspects of politics is transparency. It is vital to secure the political environment, so the elected people deliver with the best of their abilities and keep in mind their accountability. The true essence of democracy lies in people’s power to regulate how they live.
In recent times, the political system across the globe has weakened, and feelings of hopelessness and anger are demanding a shift from traditional practices to somewhat effective ones.
The claims of rigging are now common in different countries, and votes have lost their trust in democratic systems. Discrimination has heightened even in politically and socially graduated societies. Non-state stakeholders use anonymous platforms to influence voters before the election, spread rumors and false news of leaders fostering violence and causing political havoc.
Technology must invade the political system and make it transparent, efficient and reliable. This article explores the utility of blockchain in politics and its potential prosperity in strengthening the political system across the globe.
Role of Blockchain in Elections
Robust political systems are initiated by transparent elections which secure the mandate of the people. More often elections are rejected by the masses or face aggressive opposition leading to recounting or reelections in some areas, adding to the costs and turmoil. Patterns of elections, irrespective of geographies, show vulnerability which questions the validity of the final results. Attacks on databases of voters were reported in more than two states in the last United States’ election, highlighting the influence of external sources.
The system mostly uses redundant technologies for the casting votes and counting such as older versions of the software. Chief Executive Officer of Qondado, Edward Robles says ‘Regarding voting equipment, manufacturers must secure their code and physical components used to execute their code.’
Different companies, Like Accenture and Microsoft, have already started working on blockchain technology for user identification. The two companies have recently joined hands to provide legal status to one billion people, especially refugees and immigrants.
Ben Dickson has explained the role of blockchain in the electoral system. The distributed ledger system of blockchain allows allocation of independent nodes to individual votes. The independent nodes will be saved in different locations. Each registered voter will have a specific credential or wallet assigned to him, therefore, making it impossible for hackers to tamper votes. Blockchain Technologies Corporation and Follow My Vote have started working on the possibilities.
Fred Ehrsam says ‘Everything will be tokenized and connected by a blockchain one day.’
Blockchain will allow faster verification and counting of votes, as the manual framework will be excluded. This means the requirements of polling infrastructure, evidently reducing the costs of conducting elections.
E-voting will exponentially enhance voter engagement, increasing the turnout and facilitating more people to vote.
Security of Records
Another important aspect of politics is the control of national records. Politicians who are involved in corruption may change the records when confronted by investigation agencies. Since they have access to databases, the politicians or other representatives may maintain false data to tamper the records and cover traces of corruption.
Also, other countries and organizations may want to access national records such as that of the economy, military assets, financial deals and so.
A country holds important and valuable information that must be protected from other countries, terrorist organizations and others with. Blockchain facilitates this protection and ensures data protection of highest standards.
The behemoth bitcoin blockchain has billions of individual nodes. It can be anchored to private blockchains make the information sure and inaccessible. Unlike convention server hacking, blockchain protects the data from any breaches.
Blockchain for Liquid Democracy
The essence of democracy is that people get to choose their leaders and the policies implemented on them. The idea of liquid democracy is to allow people to give their feedback and raise concerns on policy matters, legislation, laws, taxes and so.
However, people do not have a proper platform to do so, besides protesting on social media.
Blockchain gives rise to a different electoral system which encourages voting and discussions on important issues. It makes it possible for people to delegate their votes based on the problems, to experts and industry professionals.
The assigned professional may further designate the vote to another expert. For example, a citizen delegates his vote to a professional economist on issues concerning the economy. The citizen may cancel the delegation at any point.
Different people can be assigned to various issues. The authority for environment issues may be delegated to an individual, while that for social problems to another.
Alan Moore says ‘People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people’.
Liquid democracy allows people to take part in the decision-making process. Instead of illogical arguments and criticism, it encourages people with relevant knowledge and expertise to help the government in making better laws and policies for the well-being of the people. It also pressurizes the government to maintain transparency and take actively work for the citizens.
Blockchain allows politics to take a new perspective. It shifts the paradigm of power from politicians to the citizens, by encouraging them to participate in the policy-making and control their lives. When implemented, the people of a country will not be forced to accept taxes and laws which are not beneficial for them.
Politicians often misguide the public on technical matters such as that of the economy. People are forced to accept taxes even on basic goods. The lack of knowledge of economic policies and global factors keeps them from questioning the policies imposed on them.
United Nations and some countries have adopted different blockchain technologies to secure data and enhance tracking. It has terrific implications for politics and will help combat corruption, election rigging, vote tampering and so. Blockchain will also reduce the costs of conducting elections and the workforce requirements for calculating votes, and other work.
Featured image via BigStock.
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