Waves To Develop “liquid Democracy” Applications

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The Waves platform is planning to develop a new form of Blockchain-based voting system, characterised as “liquid democracy”.

It is the next major use case for Blockchain, which is not fundamentally a financial technology but can be applied far beyond the popular use cases of peer-to-peer currencies like bitcoin, and the more recent but controversial phenomenon of ICOs or Initial Coin Offerings. Yet no government or business to date has implemented such a voting system, allowing Waves to pioneer the first application of its kind.

“Fair, efficient, transparent but anonymous voting systems are a clear use case for Blockchain technology,” comments Waves CEO, Alexander Ivanov. “This is an area deserving of further research and engagement, and we believe we have something truly worthwhile to offer here.”

Existing electoral systems, although based on democratic models, have significant limitations. Representative democracy, for example, requires voters to give up their rights to a proxy, who wields influence on their behalf. Direct democracy, whilst ostensibly fairer, tends not to scale well for a number of reasons – including its requirement that voters are well-informed about every issue on which they make a decisions. Liquid democracy combines the advantages of both systems, allowing voters to make a decision themselves or to defer to an expert, as appropriate.

The project is a collaboration between a number of different organisations and research groups:

The result will be a voting protocol that can be used in real-world production systems.

Viable implementations

Whilst implementations of liquid democracy already exist – including Google Votes – these have focused on basic functionality without taking into account the need for privacy. Bingsheng Zhang, Assistant Professor in Cybersecurity at the University of Lancaster, and Hong-Sheng Zhou, Assistant Professor of Cryptography at Virginia Commonwealth University, have designed an implementation suitable for real-world use in the 21st century.

Zhang and Zhou’s paper proposes an efficient liquid democracy e-voting scheme that brings together both delegation and voting, via the new concept of statement voting.

“Statement voting can be viewed as a natural extension of traditional candidate voting. Instead of defining a fixed election candidate, each voter can define a statement in his or her ballot but leave the vote “undefined” during the voting phase. During the tally phase, the (conditional) actions expressed in the statement will be carried out to determine the final vote… We remark that our statement voting can be extended to enable more complex voting and generic ledger-based non-interactive multi-party computation. We believe that the statement voting concept opens a door for constructing a new class of e-voting schemes.”

About Richard Kastelein

Founder of industry publication Blockchain News, partner at ICO services collective CryptoAsset Design Group (helped raise over $200m+), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) and ICO event organiser at leading industry event  CryptoFinancing (first ICO event in Europe) – Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of half a dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1200 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat.
 
Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London, Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, San Mateo, Shanghai,Tel Aviv and Venice. His network is global and extensive.
 
He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He’s written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French.
 
A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein’s professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he’s travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world.
 
In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Seas’ travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he’s raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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