In 2017, we identified Blockchain Democracy as a Top Trend for 2018, forecasting that this technology, exploding across a range of different fields, would ultimately prove a secure, accurate system for digital voting, erasing the longstanding belief that online voting isn’t secure.
Indeed, Blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, is being embraced by the biggest banks and financial institutions, insurance giants, new technology companies, major industries and an increasing number of governments worldwide that value their security, so why wouldn’t it be used to advance democracy?
While online voting has yet to build momentum worldwide, it is taking significant steps that can soon evolve, as we forecast, into a fully developed trend.
We bank online. We conduct sensitive, highly personal health care transactions online. We apply for mortgages, jobs and auto loans online.
So why can’t we vote online?
The longstanding mindset has been that electronic voting systems are unsafe and can be easily hacked, ignoring the fact that current voting systems are antiquated, unreliable, inconvenient and “hanging chad” hackable.
Despite global demands to make it happen, what is fundamentally slowing the growth of online voting is that politicians and vested interests control an election process that is inefficient and entrenched.
But 2018, so far, is seeing some breakthrough moments.
Most notably, for the first time in American history, voters in West Virginia will be able to vote using their mobile phones, supported by Blockchain technology.
What about those longstanding security concerns?
“The software company, Voatz, has developed a secure mobile voting application that allows voters to receive, vote, and return their ballots electronically. The application also utilizes Blockchain technology to store electronically submitted ballots until election night and requires a heightened standard of identity verification for users than traditional absentee ballot processes,” an official statement from the government of West Virginia read.
This is a major step in demonstrating the effectiveness of Blockchain technology in the direct democracy arena, even though the expected, knee-jerk criticism that the system isn’t safe persists. Critics, from the Heritage Foundation to MIT still say it’s too risky.
But as we forecast: “Ripe for destruction, what Blockchain Democracy will do is make politicians and the current election process obsolete by cutting out the middlemen… politicians… and putting the power in the hands of the people.”
West Virginia is not the only example.
Given the ability to vote online, not only for candidates but on major issues affecting citizens, ranging from municipal budgets to referenda, countries worldwide can follow the Switzerland model. There, the most advanced model of Direct Democracy is practiced, giving citizens a direct say in how their public servants carry out the will of the voters.
Global IT service provider Luxoft Holding, Inc., for example, partnered with the City of Zug and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland, to test the world’s first Blockchain-based e-voting system to be used in a major city.
The “experiment” this past July was a success. There were no significant security or data breaches. TJ
Why a low cost, secure, fully reliable online voting system driven by Blockchain technology, that is sweeping across industries worldwide, would be a hard sell to advance Direct Democracy causes is indeed a mystery.
But the reality that We The People want a direct say in not only the candidates we vote into office, but on issues ranging from war to school budgets, is increasingly being supported by a technology that can make it happen.
As dissatisfaction with political institutions accelerates globally, Direct Democracy will gain momentum. The populist movements spreading across the globe are demonstrating that the citizens of the world are disgusted with ingrained political systems, in which elected officials carry out the will of special interests, enriching themselves with bribes and payoffs (deceptively labeled as campaign contributions), rather than serving the public’s interest.
Again, in reaffirming our forecast, the only obstacle to online voting is the people’s will to make it happen.