Blockchain and Democracy

Welcome back to the ThinkCoin weekly!

Over the past series of blogs, we’ve been closely examining how blockchain will disrupt a whole host of industries, from banking to intellectual property. Today we’re continuing the series by looking at one of the most promising aspects of blockchain technology; decentralised voting and governance. It’s a newly emerging alternative to current voting systems, and could be implemented across governments, international organisations, and corporations all around the world.

So what’s so special about blockchain for this sector?

Firstly, thanks to the immutability of public ledgers, (once they’re written, they can never be changed), they’re an ideal storage solution for sensitive voting data. By building a verified database of voters we can eliminate voter fraud, ensuring that only legitimate voters are participating. The nature of public ledgers has more benefits too. Unlike traditional paper ballots, a blockchain system can greatly reduce vote manipulation, fraud, and lost ballots. Because the information is not stored on a central server, but distributed across many, blockchain systems are a huge step up from traditional electronic systems too. Where a centralised database can be hacked or modified to change an outcome, a blockchain based voting system is a secure alternative.

So the nature of blockchains, as distributed and uneditable data systems makes them a strong candidate for voting infrastructure — but that’s not all.

Systems like the Ethereum protocol, the platform we’re building on at TradeConnect, allow us to go one stage further. You’ve probably heard of smart contracts by now, but many people don’t realise just how significant this new technology could be when combined with decentralised voting.

Smart contracts receive information, and use this data to execute an action, for instance, sending funds to one account or another in the case of a wager. When we introduce decentralised systems of governance this opens up a world of possibilities.

Contractors could bid for a council job, submitting their proposals online. Voters make their decision, and smart-contracts automatically send the funds to the winner, with no human intervention necessary, and no chance of corruption. Apply this mechanic to companies, for example customers voting for a new product, or European citizens deciding whether to prioritize space or health research, and you start to get a scale for just how significant this could be.

TradeConnect as a platform will take full advantage of this new opportunity, with token listings on the exchange just one example. Of course, we’re just at the beginning of this journey, but the vision is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality.

Join us next week for another close up look at the disruptive power of blockchain.