A hypothetical case of tokenizing a political party with Ravencoin

Comistar Global
Feb 4, 2019 · 7 min read

This post is not an expression of political views or an invitation to have any discussion about political views. To be frank, we really don’t care about your political views. Instead, we’ll try to have a hypothetical case of tokenizing a political party. I have to add that we have limited knowledge of how a political party operates (intrinsically), so we’re not attempting to create a very detailed and implementable solution with this example. We are also not taking into account any regulatory restrictions that may apply. However, we would be very interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas on how we could use blockchain to make the politics better — hypothetically.

There’s a lot of political nonsense and turmoil both in the US and in the EU currently. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen people being so passionate about politics. There are many people who have tied their whole identities to the political views they represent, so essentially, it’s impossible to disagree with them on politics, but still, have a normal conversation. There’s also a big gap between the people and the governments (or governing institutions like the European Union parliament). A lot of misunderstanding, dissatisfaction, labelling, identity politics and unease, coupled with the ever-widening wealth cap, which in turn breeds more and more dissatisfaction and hopelessness. We already have enough crap to worry about in our own lives, and now it seems the whole society is on a brink of disaster, or at least on a brink of some sort of serious collision and conflict, which will eventually be solved by force (Apologies for the dark and depressive view on things. It’s not a prediction of future events, it’s just how we perceive the current state of things.)

While the politics and the social system is a wide topic and blockchain technology can’t fix it all, it could definitely be useful, at least in theory, when it comes to funding and the governance of the political parties. Could we create more transparency in the shady funding shenanigans of the politics? How about the inclusion of the voters? After all, at least in Europe, a lot of people feel that the politicians live in a whole different realm than they do, and don’t give a crap about what the average folk thinks either.

We started to wonder whether there’s a way to use the blockchain technology to change the funding and the governance of a political party. Could it be a real and transparent democracy? It’s definitely an interesting proposition, at least the way we see it.

First, let’s take the fundraising. People who support some party can buy the tokens and through that, provide funds to the political party that they support. There’s no other way to raise funds. The corporations and billionaires who influence policy with their money can still be the donors, but it’s more transparent. You have to buy tokens (after doing the KYC procedures), and it’s all public information or at least controllable information. And it’s the only way a political party can raise funds. I know that in most countries the parties have to show who funds them in what amount, but there’s still a lot of shady stuff around funding, at least in the country where I live. And the average voter usually can’t fund a party, or at least it’s not a norm. So parties are extremely influenced by the donors.

With the ownership of the tokens, people get some rights, as described in the next paragraphs. Obviously this proposition is a naive one and it doesn’t really exclude the possibility that someone is still financing the party in some shady way, but the blockchain ledger could provide a way to have better control mechanisms in place. It’s definitely more reliable than the traditional bookkeeping and the data we get now.

The party token could have voting rights. What if the people who own the token could, to limited capacity, of course, have some sort of voting rights on the (important) decisions which the party does? For example, let’s say the party has an important political decision to make and to do that they have to get an opinion of the token holders as well (via token sale agreement or any other type of document highlighting the responsibilities of the party). I am well aware that there are questions too complex for average folks like me to vote on, as politics is complicated and nuanced, but what if the political party has the requirement to get the opinion, and if they act against the will of the token holders, they have to provide an explanation, and the validity of that explanation is rated by the token holders? And going forward with this idea, the software running token portal of the party records all the votes, how the political party acted upon the results of the voting, and how the explanations were rated? This would give a possibility for the token holders to look back to a given period, let’s say a year, two-years, four years etc, and see how well they were heard by the chosen leaders.

The thing is that we tend to forget about the shit that politicians pull. So perhaps it’s good to have this sort of reminder? If we’re involved in the decision making as the token holders ( by voting and rating), then we know very well how our opinions were taken into account and we can make our conclusions going into the next elections. And this voting system can be applied for all sorts of decisions within the pre-determined rules and restrictions (i.e to what extent it will affect the decision making of the party etc).

This means that people are more involved and have a continuous influence on how politics is done. Not just once in four or five years when the voting time comes. Of course, there’s no chance in the world that there’s a political will and guts from any of the political parties anywhere to actually implement anything of the sort. But it’s a fact that such rating systems have worked well for all sorts of online (commerce) platforms, and it forces the other party (politician) to act diligently if they (politicians) plan to be in the “business” for a long run. And stop giving promises they never plan on fulfilling, as they can be damn sure the token holders will execute their rights to call the bullshit via token ownership rights.

There are excellent blockchain technologies out there which allow voting, on-chain messaging, attach signed files/metadata to the token, and which are scalable. I am referring to the Ravencoin, which is also the main choice for the TokenizEU issuance platform.

There are things that I haven’t quite figured out yet, and this has to do with any attempt to rig the system. For example, how do you make sure that your opposing party supporters won’t buy up the majority of the tokens and start undermining the operations of the party? Would they spend money on that, considering they would be financing the opposing party? There has to be a good solution for such malevolence, as it’s an obvious risk. There has to be some sort of limitation of the tokens which each individual can buy unless manually green-lighted by the party? And even then it may not be sufficient, if there are, let’s say, 50 000 activists with opposing views buying the token (thus also financing the party). Could it be something that the evil activist masterminds are willing to do in order to have a long-term opportunity to breach the intrinsic voting of a party? Could one solution be a blockchain registry or ecosystem, where all the political parties of a country have to be registered in, and once you own a token of one party, you can not own a token of another party (unless sold or terminated)?

There probably aren’t easy solutions for some of these questions. At least not easily implementable ones. Perhaps the attractiveness of doing malevolent actions have to be minimised, which means the voting in itself won’t have any tangible power, but it’s just an indication of how well the token holders are heard and a yardstick for each voter for the future elections.

Perhaps party members, the politicians, are some sort of masternodes, and we can see how each and every one of them vote on different issues. That could be useful, and they have to provide an explanation for why they vote in such a way. Individual responsibility and accountability are some of the keys to improving a performance of any group. Transparency on an individual level definitely minimises the shady activities, and if we bring this in front of the voters, I am quite certain that we would have a better politics.

Governance carried out by the voters and the people. Just like it has to be.

All said and done, if the politicians wanted things to change, things would have changed a long time ago. Human nature is flawed, hence, we believe the technology could help us fix the parts of us where we’re weak or inherently incapable to change (if the incentives support a self-serving behaviour, it’s inevitable that a good many of us will fail to act in a way that’s best for the country and the public) .

For now, the incumbents want nothing else than to stay incumbents. There’s no political will, just as there are (almost) no true statesmen anymore. Everyone is worried about their own ass, with their own agenda, and ready to dump their principles as soon as someone promises a sweeter spot.

But we’re a resilient bunch, and we won’t stop dreaming.

TokenizEU helps to tokenize companies, raise funds and issue digital securities in the European Union.


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