Let’s not get into politics but I don’t have to tell you that election fraud has been occupying a lot of minds, whether or not it is occurring. And, clearly not just in the US. How about in every country with a voting system, democratic, quasi or not? Even if you don’t have any fraud, how do you prove it?
Technology to the rescue, this time in the form of blockchain. And not just any old blockchain, that treats instances as a member of a class, many numbering in the trillions. How about NFTs, which, by their very name, only validate one’s very own personal thing, that is the object that you want to prove is the only one in the world? Were NFTs actually invented solely for the purpose of eliminating the issue of electoral fraud, or of proving that there couldn’t have been any? Seems like.
Just as a NFT proves that you have the only copy in existence of whatever it is you want to show is unique, so does an NFT provide that function for that particularly unique and precious thing, your vote, the proof of your sole and unique membership of a country, society or community. Would it be too much to claim that a voting system without NFTs doesn’t and can never work?
We all know that voting systems require a lot of trust. That is in increasingly short supply. We’re at the point now where in the US a substantial portion of the electorate don’t trust our voting systems. Whatever your view about this, we all have the right to be able to trust our voting systems. Right now, there’s no guarantee. With NFTs you get it.
How so? Could we jig things (yep, voting machines too) such that every time we vote it becomes an NFT? The vote is provably unique to us and can’t ever have been used or deployed by anyone else. And when we count up these NFTs we get a provable number of total votes. One that is absolutely indisputable.
The vote can be in any form; a printed and signed form, a photo ID (non-deepfake of course), a video, a fingerprint or a handprint even a retinal scan. These can all be rendered into NFTs. The voting machine could accept any of these and declare them proven and unique on the spot. What’s not to like?
We don’t have enough computing power? Fiddlesticks! It’s just a question of organization, getting the right hardware and making the software logistics of generating NFTs more efficient. Admittedly our government organizations haven’t proven to be particularly good at doing anything with IT reliably but maybe you just outsource it to Google, Amazon or IBM to get it done. Surely the goals of having a totally trustworthy voting system are worth fighting for.
Voting systems are key to society, even if they not necessarily tied to democratic institutions. Even China has widespread citizen feedback, much as we don’t like to admit it. Even countries with other forms of government have citizen feedback mechanisms which need to be trusted too.
There’s an even wider context here though. Remember ESG? Environmental, social and – wait for it – governance. Governance is the third leg of sustainability. If you don’t have trust in government, governance and voting systems, you can’t get sustainability.
We forget that, no matter how good our environmental and social mechanisms might be, if you don’t have trust in government, you don’t have a sustainable society. As we speak there are several festering global hot spots that could lead to another world war. Sustainability is currently difficult if not impossible to achieve due to the lack of trust in voting systems and systems of governance globally.
Paradoxically technology to the rescue! Blockchain provides new ways to hold governments accountable and to gain trust in government, vital issues for global sustainability.
I don’t think its too much to assert that democracy in the US is under threat in a way that it has never been before. We need to regain trust in government and its institutions. It may be that not only are NFTs a vital route to regain these, they might be the only way.
The commentariat of all stripes has deemed environment and social institutions as being the key drivers of sustainability. Governance has been lost in the rush.
Total sustainability includes governance too.