Twitter Threads: on Voting and Blockchain


The “voting” issue on the blockchain is a, like almost any discussion in this industry, a mess.

Lack of definition, lack of historical perspective and an almost wilful lack of knowledge of the theory and ideas behind voting in the first place.

I am not an expert at all, but to at least make a distinction between voting as a means to elect public representatives (ie. being able to vote freely and express your desired outcome in a free and secret manner) and voting as a means of decision making is important.

For national votes, the freedom to do so without coercion and without having to fear any concequences from your vote is the most important parameter. This means 1) a vote needs to be absolutely secret, and 2) you need to be in a space where you can be free of influence.

If ONE of those is not present, no matter how well recorded a vote is, the point is defeated. People could be coerced, people could be ostracised because of their vote. And this would defeat the whole point of free elections. No tech helps here.

Voting as a means of decision making is a completely different issue, where other problems apply. Sometimes you WANT to see who voted what. For instance, you might want to be able to check how your chosen representative performs. In such cases, tech might help. However, there are consequences. Transparency is a cool word, but the accountability doesn’t just work one way. Focus groups can also use this to identify targets for lobbying, which has happenen in the US. Read the work of @JamesGDAngelo on this topic.

First and foremost: when using any tech to solve a perceived problem, FIRST focus on knowing as much as possible about the subject! After that: tech.

Regarding voting most arguments seem to come from vague feelings instead of hard facts.
Voting is a subject about which at least 2000 years of thought has been preserved: there are no shortcuts. If you do not read up, you are going to say extremely stupid and potentially dangerous things.

Be honest to yourself and know what you do not know. Engage in discussion by all means, but know thyself.

Bas Wisselink
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