The Politics of Liquid Democracy via Blockchain

US Capitol Building
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Liquid Future

The rise of blockchain technology has created a new conversation around liquid democracy. The concept, also known as delegative democracy, would see power decentralized from its current holders in executive mansions and marble legislatures across the nation, and see it placed in the hands of regular citizens and voters.

Such a technological shift would not only see sovereign power over government returned to its rightful holders in the voting public, but also help do away with the abuses and negligence that can come with an elected few wielding inordinate amounts of power.

The Build Up

Ever since the internet became a dominant feature of workplaces and homes around the world, a certain presumption has always existed about what it would ultimately generate in the future. The ultimate hope of many is that it will provide a newer, more efficient democratic process that truly puts power back in the hands of the public.

Perspectives vary about whether this reformed process should see voting citizens participate occasionally — for example on special votes — or regularly. Regardless of whether this new era would mean voting once a year, or once a week, the technological capability should be regarded as separate from the political possibility of it.

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What Are the Hurdles?

Even if there’s a path that’s technologically possible, the challenge comes from the political dimensions.

It’s not breaking news that many democratic nations find themselves in a high octane and divisive era. Whether it’s the ongoing saga surrounding apparent Russian government meddling in the 2016 U.S presidential election, the fallout from Brexit in the UK, or similar scandals further afield, few voters have an appetite for anything but a return to normal.

So while blockchain may be a technology rich with promise and potential to improve the democratic process, the general public in many nations may be weary of any further seismic shifts in their experience with government. Seeing citizens embrace fundamental and sweeping reforms of a government process they are already lack faith will be a tall order. But no matter how much they resist another shakeup in the form of radically new blockchain powered voting system, it is a change that, in the long run, can empower voters to improve the political climate like never before.

Today and Tomorrow

This era is ultimately just that – an era. Eventually it shall have to give way to a new one, and the work done today will inform those outcomes of tomorrow.  That’s why anyone who recognizes the promise of blockchain voting in democracy surely has a fair reason to recognize the timing may not be perfect right now, but there’s also no such thing as perfect timing.

Ultimately, those who see the opportunities blockchain offers for a better democratic process can surely see its potential to restore some faith in the governing process that has recently been tested across numerous democratic nations. Also, to drive forward the current political cycle to a new one, that even if not all sunshine and rainbows, offers something positive beyond the current status quo.


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