Internet of Voters wants lo leverage technology. available today, and combine it with key principles which will make IOV a radical shift from the way contemporary governance is run. These essays are an introduction to the technologies, and how they can work together, coupled with some background theories on what justifies the system update, as proposed by IOV.
Technology is bounding forward, opening up endless opportunity for our lives to be enhanced, facilitated, and simplified, as computing and programming, advance. With this comes a new era of information sharing, and the capacity to communicate our preferences to anyone, or everyone. It is this quality of immense connectivity which can be harnessed to distribute democracy to all corners of the globe. Whilst this may seem a very lofty goal, I am unable to believe that it is not achievable. To that end, this page will outline the component parts, and how they can interact, in order to bring IOV to life.
A vote is alive for the seconds it takes to tick the box, then dies the moment you place your voting paper in the ballot box. It remains a dead entity, entombed in history with no effect upon the ‘democratic’ system whatsoever. There is a wall between your vote, and the effect it has upon the chosen representatives, and the decisions they will make, supposedly on your behalf. Once your vote is cast, your power as a voter stops, dead.
IOV creates a dynamic democracy, as the votes will remain alive, always, in realtime.
Consider your vote as a token. In the old system that vote(token) is singular, and static. With IOV, votes(tokens) will be used to continuously work within the system. This will reconstitute democracy as dynamic, rather than static. The voter will choose to place tokens with issues of their choosing, at the time of their choosing, and if they change their view, they can alter their token(s) within the system.
This also alters the format of centralised control within government. Where once a central leader was required to have authority across the entire portfolio of sectors applicable to their domain, IOV distributes the decisions among the sectors, leaving only administration of the portfolios to be managed. The various sectors perform their duties as a function of the mandate from the voters. This alleviates the need for hierarchical management structures, and provides a pathway to positive active planning, rather than being bogged down by bureaucracy and in-fighting. IOV will provide continuous, transparent, interaction, within civic administration, allowing the entire process to become more agile and alive, whilst minimising bureaucratic excess.
Price to Play
IOV proposes a system of participation within civic administration using blockchain-based tokens which can be utilised to represent the will of the voter.
Tokens = Votes whereby the votes(tokens) remain sovereign to the voting individual. The voter is issued a balance of tokens. Those tokens remain the property of the voter, and are used to participate in the democratic system. Each token is ‘spent’ by the individual as they participate in the system, and can be moved, or retracted, as the individual sees fit.
Tokenisation will provide ‘skin in the game’, a concept which implies any participant in a system is much more keenly attentive when they have some sort of stake in the outcome. Any contribution to IOV will be done by staking tokens, from an allotment of tokens issued to the each eligible participant, as recognised by the territory in which they are participating. In each territory, sectors will break down into smaller and smaller divisions. What was once managed as a portfolio within a government structure, may be broken down into functional divisions of labour, the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the sector, or, the administrative labours, and the division for those issues which were formerly worked upon as representing the governmental administration of that sector. These sectors divide out within the IOV system, in the same way government is currently organised, i.e. finance, health, transport, education, etc. Allocation of tokens per sector may be a function of the proportion of total purse allocated to that sector.
If voter is issued with 100 tokens, each token is divisible to the third decimal point (100.000) that voter can use their tokens as they participate in the system. Lets say an amount of 0.001 will be the cost of comments or ‘likes’, moving upward from there to proposals, perhaps 0.01 tokens, whilst at the full support level, one full token can be used to support a representative, or the ideas which that representative promotes. The greater the ‘spend’, the more the voter will value the issue to which they are lending their support, more skin in the game. At the upper end, they become part of shaping the narrative concerning the issue they are involved with.
The voter may wish to support their municipal representative responsible for roading. The percentage of government funds allocated to roads is 2.5%. Their local representative is competent, active, and forward thinking, and the voter wants to support that representative, and their work. The voter has a total of 2.5 tokens which can be spent within roading, of which a maximum of 1 token can be used to support a representative, or idea. The voter checks the mandate of the representative, and chooses to add a criticism to a policy which is going to affect their local area roads. The cost to lodge that comment is 0.01 tokens, leaving the voter with 2.49 tokens.
Other voters like the comment, spending 0.001 tokens each to show their support. If significant numbers show support, the representative will need to acknowledge the comment, and act upon it accordingly.
This is where the system becomes dynamic. The constant feedback provides active movement of objectives within a democratic system, preventing the stultifying congestion which the contemporary system is encumbered with.
A series of blocks chained together. This is the original terminology used to describe what is today known as the blockchain. The ‘block’ can be considered as a store of data which is then made immutable, using a computational process known as ‘hashing’. The effect of hashing is to lock the information in place, perhaps in the same way one would consider fossilised remains lock the information about creatures of the past, into stone. Each additional layer, or block, first verifies the validity of the previous information, then makes adjustments before hashing the subsequent layer, locking in its’ new information. You may think of this as the sedimentary deposits of rock, whereby the deeper one digs, the further one goes back into history, to discover the older information, which is locked in place. Hashing provides this function of locking the information in place, making it immutable. The only way a blockchain can be altered is by updating it, the base layers will remain locked, making blockchain a one-way store of information.
This immutable function of blockchain makes information secure, and is why it’s seen as such a significant advance in computing technology. Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, employ this security function as the bedrock for their claim to providing the most sound money ever devised. This same bedrock security can be employed to provide trust in a decentralised process of democracy.
Trust in a Trust-less Network.
This is what bitcoin provides. Our contemporary financial system relies upon the integrity of banks, financiers, the legal framework around those entities, and the will of regulators to enforce the law. This is breaking down at every level. A bank provides security, as opposed to trust, by guaranteeing the funds they store on our behalf. If the security of my funds is breached, for example someone scams my credit card and does an online shopping spree, the bank will reimburse the loss. In this sense we trust the bank, as we have an amount of faith that our funds are safe. However, as seen in 2008, banks are not safe, especially in this era of endless money printing, and are prone to failure, at which point they rely upon government to prop them up. (using your taxpayer dollars) If the government reaches the point they cannot support the burden of all banks failing at once, your funds in the bank will be instantly deleted, as if those dollars only ever existed as computer code, which is effectively accurate. In that instant, trust in modern banking will be discovered as worthless. It will also be found out that the entire process of modern monetary theory has been a poorly run experiment, enabled by the base layer of money, all the way up through the banking industry, facilitated through profit based lobbying, and crony politics.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, provides a pathway away from the deception and corruption of our fiat monetary system. Bitcoin employs blockchain to provide security to allow every person on the planet to take part in a monetary system which has no central control, no concentrated power to distort or coerce its value, or manipulation of its’ supply through endless printing. Bitcoin lives in a trust-less network, where each participant in the network has skin in the game, but cannot alter or distort the value of the currency, it is purely a function of the marketplace, supply and demand. Trust is not required, as the bitcoin protocol cannot be altered, meaning it functions with autonomous integrity, rather than the misplaced trust of a third party security system, like the contemporary banking industry.
To that end, bitcoin exists in a trust-less network. No-one needs to place trust in the system, as it is secure, verifiable, autonomous, and functions independent of human input. It provides its service without the need to have faith in the veracity of third party systems. This is a machine, in the true sense of a mechanical process, and will continue to function for as long as computing energy is applied to it.
This trust-less-ness can be applied to our systems of governance, removing the unnecessary influence of self-concerned actors, or parties. No longer will there be a need to assume faith in a system which is ignorant of its constituents.
Bitcoin operates using a protocol known as ‘Proof of Work” (PoW). This PoW protocol requires large amounts of energy to function as a system. This is a deliberate and ingenious feature of bitcoin, whereby the energy input is integral to maintaining the integrity of the system. Other cryptocurrencies are developing new protocols. Other cryptocurrencies have developed alternate hash algorithms, like Cardano, with Proof Of Stake” (PoS), something which Ethereum recently changed over to. Solana’s “Proof Of History”(PoH), and “Proof of Replication”(PoRep) show great promise. These other protocols are leading the way with faster transaction speeds, smart contracts and low energy hash rates. At their core, they are vying for the title of most efficient and user friendly to the environment by using the least energy to verify their transactions on the network, whilst providing the most flexible user experience. These competing cryptos are the perfect fit to provide the programming bedrock for IOV.
This employment of alternate blockchain protocols as a non financial entity, can provide all the security necessary for the validation of token movements, in realtime, for the voter.
All this assumes that a blockchain ledger can be interacted with, on a send and rescind, basis. The voter retains full ownership of their tokens, always. When they spend tokens into the system, they increase the value within that sector of the system, their support or input is credited to the civic ledger. When they wish to alter their preference, they retract their token, to be used in some other way.
‘Smart contracts’ will enable this ‘send and rescind’ mechanism. A smart contract executes the actions set up for that contract, when predetermined conditions have been met and verified. In IOV, the conditions will be providing verifiable support within the network, which can later be withdrawn, or be set with an expiry time-lock. Voters will demonstrate their preferences in the network, as contracts, which they edit, in alignment with their choices.
IOV can be offered as an alternative incumbent democratic systems. and may be engaged fully, once sufficient engagement with the platform is achieved. IOV is intended be self regulating, as a function of the constituency, who can make decisions and manage all facets of that which is currently administered by centralised democracies. IOV will distribute the decision making processes evenly to those whom wish to take part in the civic administration of issues which interest them, the individual, or group of individuals.
IOV is a derivation of decentralised principles embodied in Bitcoin. A peer to peer network, like a social network, empowered with a call to action and responsibility. The one major difference being, it will distribute centrally collected civic revenue. This component too, is anticipated as open and visible to all, whereby all revenue can be traced, from collection, through to expenditure.
In the modern era, effective forms of protest, against policies generated by wealthy elites controlling governmental policy, are all but toothless. The sheer number of issues being pushed back upon, means there are so many splintered protest groups, that no one group has enough impetus or disruption, to be given a second thought by either the wealthy elites, or the government policy, and any subsequent militarised policing which they direct. The power structures are geared up to crush any leading protest movements with increased punitive measures, either in the form of state violence, or through legislation criminalising those who demonstrate discontent against the direction in which governmental policy is heading. The days of effective protest in the streets are over, there are simply too many problems to be addressed, so the likelihood of successful mobilisation to a common cause is increasingly unlikely.
We are moving into the digital era, and so too must our capacity to push back against exploitative governmental policies. IOV intends to offer policy decisions to the individual, radically altering the landscape of self-centred rent seeking behaviour, by wealth interests and their puppets. To that end, protesting is a peaceful process, carried out as a function of positive input to the network of civic administration. In effect, the protesting will be done online, individually and collectively, without having to overcome governmental nepotism, which facilitates policy of wealth interests, over the will of people. Protesting will become a thing of the past, liberated from the gatekeepers of state imposed violence.