Instead, this is a technology issue and an issue which, I believe, blockchain can solve. Blockchain is a cryptographic distributed ledger technology that allows for transactions, such as banking or voting records, to be held in an immutable public or private form. This technology and the applications built on top of it, will be the engine that runs a vast amount of the underlying protocols for our future. But what does this have to do with politics? If done properly, it could keep everyone honest because blockchain creates trust.
I believe I can speak for all people, on both sides, when I say that I am tired of politics; especially for the simple things that we should have figured out by now, such as voting and funding. I’ll touch quickly on the first one. While still in its infancy, Voatz (https://voatz.com/) has taken a unique approach to voting on a private blockchain that may prevent situations where, like in Florida and around the country, we have ballots that may or may not be counted regardless of the reason. The thought that service members, who are suffering from the lack of technology to the point of losing their homes, tuition, and dealing with other financial troubles (), could possibly be able to vote from around the world in a matter of minutes is absolutely incredible. I would enjoy this luxury myself, as I imagine anyone who has stood in lines, has had to deal with a poorly-staffed polling place, or has had to vote via an absentee ballot would. This technology will be critical for democracy, and for corporate democracy, in the form of voting as well. However, I’m not here to talk about voting but instead here to discuss accountability.
The real meat of any story is money. Financial incentive, regardless of which side you support, makes me nauseous that I cannot find out what a representative, at the state or federal level, has spent these lobbyist contributions on. More than that, I want to know who has sent what where. Blockchain can do that, I know it can. I just haven’t found anyone willing to tackle this problem with me. Imagine knowing, and we do with the Freedom of Information Act (but the wait is incredibly slow on all of these requests), that Representative X just received contributions from Company Y that is trying to negatively influence a bill being proposed. The best example case of this is the recent debacle with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Internet net neutrality scandal. We learned over the course of months who was receiving contributions and where they came from, but we had no idea how these representatives spent this money. In my ideal dream world (yes, attorneys can dream) we would be able to account for every penny of campaign spending and lobbying contributions, and any underhanded-dealing would be sniffed and snuffed out. I want to know if my representative is bought and paid for by Big Tobacco; that’s why they voted against a healthcare reformation bill that would make smokers pay more for premiums. Knowing who politicians accept money from could be seen as a radical proposal, but I truly believe giving the public this knowledge through Blockchain would keep politicians as honest as they can be. After all, they are politicians. (No offense to my politician friends. You all are great. 😉 )
So, my plead is this: when new technology comes to hold our elected representatives accountable, consider that option. It will make the world a safer place to do business in, as well as live in.
*If any company is working on a prototype solution for the subject matter above, please contact me. We will represent you pro bono (unless you’re already represented, #ethicalrules).
**Voatz is not represented by my firm nor anyone I am associated with. This piece is the thoughts and opinions of Jonathan C. Dunsmoor, Esq. and does not represent the thoughts, opinions or wishes of any represented clients, firms or affiliated partners.
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