It seems that Blockchain is the hottest technological debate of the decade. So what is so intriguing about this decentralized technology? The fact is Blockchain holds the key to transform two of the most powerful organizations of human existence, that is finance and governance. The Blockchain technology has all potentials to alter the norms of our society and make it more transparent by introducing changes which seem impossible to imagine at the present instance. Blockchain has already been put into practice by the government of Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa, in March 2018 for conducting the world’s first Blockchain-based election. So, how will the Blockchain Technology alter politics around the world?
Problems in the present political scenario of the world
Since the very beginning of 21st-century, geopolitics is witnessing a paradigm shift. We expect our public servants to be honest and our political institutions to be transparent in their functionalities. However, unfortunately, politics is not the realm of honest and upstanding.
Politics around the world is facing turmoil due to factors like diversion by the war in Russia and Turkey; ethno-religious “cleansing” in Hungary and Myanmar. Also, the amplification of presidential forces and the related deserting of social liberties and the control of law in countries like China, Rwanda, Venezuela, Thailand, and the Philippines; among others.
The politics of the 21st century is the rotten and corrupted system of dynamic dictators and homogenous populists who are filling the world with hopelessness, sadness, and the waning viability of old ways. There are several issues like the centralized nature of EVMs, the polarisation of votes, no assurance of privacy of voters and flawed documentation of voters. Democracy is an expensive affair and it becomes impossible to hold simultaneous elections in countries with a large population and geographical spread.
Blockchain technology in politics
The numerous applications of Blockchain offer an endless horizon of implementation in the political sector. The Blockchain technology in politics will not only influence the decision-making processes in governments but also has the potential to change the voting mechanism. Government across the globe have been experimenting with Blockchain by incorporating it into various sectors of the government like tax department, motor registry, land and titles, business registration and registration of births, deaths, and marriages. So let us see what all implications can Blockchain have in politics?
Blockchain use in politics for fraud-free elections – A free and fair election is the fundamental right of every citizen. A voting system enabled by Blockchain technology would create a platform free of voter fraud and manipulation. The other grave issue which Blockchain can address is the decreasing participation of voters in elections. In the last 50 years, the global average voter turnout decreased from 80% to 65%. Blockchain would empower the voters as the ledger is timestamped and immutable (unalterable), with the added advantage of securely voting from the comfort of their phones. Horizon State is one such Blockchain project which aims to ensure unbiased elections.
Blockchain use in politics for Real-time voting and Referendums – A Blockchain-enabled voting system can be a liberator towards a truly democratic system. It gives voters access to verify their votes in real-time. Also, Blockchain would help in the immediate vote count, thus making the election a short-time affair. Blockchain use in politics would let the government hold referendums more often and also the decision-making process would ultimately speed up.
Blockchain use in politics to minimize time and money wastage – Elections in countries with large geographical area and population are done in multiple stages. If the results are inconclusive then holding multiple elections can result in added cost for the economy. Often candidates spend recklessly on their political campaign to influence voters. Blockchain technology in politics would drastically reduce the voting expenditure of the country. Also, it will limit the enormous amount of money spent on marketing campaigns as the voting will be purely based on each voter’s knowledge and beliefs.
Blockchain technology in politics beyond voting – The applications of Blockchain are not just limited to bringing transparency in elections. Its applications are quite vivid and far-reaching. The incorporation of Blockchain into various governmental bodies and functions would make interactions between the government and the public more direct, transparent and secure than the current complicated and time-consuming system. Blockchain-powered political institutions would be more accountable and the decision-making procedures would become faster and transparent. Blockchain use in politics would also curb the existing system groaning with the weight of antiquity and corruption.
Though we humans are wired for connection yet we need privacy, protection, and individuality. The Blockchain is the perfect technology which would connect us to our government and its subsidiary organizations and also ensure that our rights are not violated by people sitting in power.