Blockchain and Politics: Australian Party to Use The Tech For Direct Democracy
Australian Flux Party intends to use bitcoin in replacing representative democracy with a digital counterpart to direct democracy, Reuters reported.
The concept behind the proposed policy is to elect six senators, who will not propose anything, and will support or block legislative inititiatives basing on votes from the party’s members. The voting itself will be based on bitcoin-like tokens, which are tradeable and exchangeable within the party environment.
Those tokens may be essentialy used for direct voting, exchanging, or providing to trusted proxies. The Flux representatives then vote for a proposed legislation proportionally to the outcome of direct voting of the party members. The party’s founders believe that, even though ministers are not necessarily experts in their field, the party members may re-assign their votes to those having a proper degree of expertise.
According to Reuters, Max Kaye, co-founder of the Flux Party, said:
“If they didn’t have to be senators, if they could just be software or robots they would be, because their only purpose is to do what the people want them to do.”
Another co-founder of the party, Nathan Spataro, added:
“This ancient system we’ve got of representative democracy, which at the time liberated us from monarchies and was awesome, now we’re at a point where it’s become this monster. We’re in a society now that’s got the Internet and when democracy in its current form was conceived, you had to sail on a ship from England to get here. This model wasn’t designed for this world.”
The monstrosity of representative democracy may be truly an issue for Australia, as due to local political peculiarities, the country has seen five prime ministers coming and going during five years, with the country’s upper house deadlocked.
However, Dr. Adrian Lee, a bitcoin expert from the University of Technology Sydney is quite dismissive about the party’s initiative.
“I haven’t seen a party which would vote via blockchain. If you removed the politician and made it just a bitcoin machine, then maybe it would work but you can’t do that,” he said.
In addition, there is no mechanism to make a person act as directed, because human behavior cannot be regulated by machine code.
Peter Chen, the University of Sydney’s senior lecturer on politics called the Flux party “delightfully naive”. He added:
“They’re just the modern version of something that’s always been around: utopian political system designers. They’re obviously guys who are really focused on the tech thing and that has always been the problem with the e-democracy people. They’re often really tech-driven and they need political scientists at the brainstorming floor to say ‘well, I don’t know if that’d work’.”
Meanwhile, the party has submitted necessary registration documents to the Australian Election Commission in January 2016. The country’s legislation requires at least 550 registered voters to sign for support of a political party for it to be registered. According to the Flux Party’s website, current membership comprises 1,009 people.
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