The Blockchain technology is believed to be popular today largely because of the soaring cryptocurrency financial markets. And truth be told, it’s almost impossible nowadays to read news relating to finance and technology and not come across a headline or two relating to cryptocurrency or blockchain.
Despite all the buzz surrounding it, blockchain is not a new concept in the tech space. Established in 2009 by an individual known as Satoshi Nakamoto, blockchain has given rise to a number of other inventions including digital currencies, ICOs, smart contracts, and more.
Blockchain is believed to be one of the fastest growing financial technology today. It is not just retail investors who are lining up to buy and sell bitcoin. Corporates and governments are also trying to find productive uses for it. Many countries around the world as slowly incorporating the technology in various sectors of their economies, including banking, manufacturing, and real estate sectors.
But for now, we’ll not delve so much into cryptocurrencies; however, in this article, I will share with you some important insights about how blockchain impacts politics in this day and age.
For starters, let’s get the basics right, shall we?
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a complex form of technology, but we’ll delve into the basics for now.
Today, Blockchain is better known as the underpinning technology for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin that facilitates financial transactions between two or more parties. Most of the time, these individuals don’t know each other and may be worlds apart; therefore, Blockchain acts as the “trusted third party” among the transacting individuals.
In its simplest, Blockchain is a system that uses complex cryptography to form an immutable ledger and distributes the information to numerous other participating computers around the world. The mechanism behind this is to ensure that hacking of one system will not necessarily amount to the permanent loss of data; rather, if one system gets hacked, any alterations made on it will be visible to all the other system across the Blockchain network.
The technology maintains records and provides proof of transactions and ownership using its decentralized distributed ledger. Additionally, transactions can only be cleared by the system when they meet certain specified requirements, and their records will be permanently held in the system.
Below is a graphical representation by the World Economic forum of how the Blockchain technology operates:
Courtesy of www.weforum.org
Improved Security of Land Records and Smart Contracts
What is a smart contract?
According to Investopedia, a Smart Contract is a self-executing contract with the terms of the agreement between the involved parties crafted in codes. The contents of the agreement exist in a decentralized, distributed Blockchain network.
In 2016, at a Blockchain summit, the former prime minister of Haiti stated that one of the biggest problems they had to deal with after the earthquake had to do with the loss of records at the government registry. He alluded to the fact that most of the land records had been maintained on paper and everything was untraceable after the tragedy.
If records are maintained using Blockchain, no amount of amount of disaster can ever wipe away the information contained in it.
Smart Contracts, on the other hand, can be used when selling or buying land directly using mobile applications. This can lead to more transparent and secure land processes. As we speak, the state of Georgia is already using the tech to resolve most of its land-related issues including the buying and selling of land by its citizens.
Immutable Blockchain = Improved Voting Systems
Blockchain has made a lot of projects increasingly popular, with the most common ones being ICOs, cryptocurrencies, and more. But various stakeholders have also been exploring the potential of the technology in solving the perennial voting discrepancies experienced all around the world.
Blockchain is capable of tracking any system which is prone to human mistakes.
It is also capable of eliminating bureaucratic jobs that relate to tracking and securing data around contracts with various individuals and organizations.
Blockchain’s capabilities are almost endless, and elections are certainly among the areas that the technology can restore sanity in. In the last couple of years, matters to do with the integrity of elections have become quite emotive even as the hot topics such as the UK Brexit vote and the alluded interference of the US elections by the Russians begin to wear off the minds of many.
With all that is happening, can you possibly imagine how helpful a UN-backed electoral Blockchain could be? The Blockchain can be used to improve the world’s voting systems, leading to corruption-free elections that more often than not, normally result in serious post-election atrocities.
Well, until change is given a chance, what all these may ever be are our imaginations.
Today’s systems are broken, and something has to be done now. Blockchain, in itself, cannot fix all the issues we are faced with; but with the powerful capability that Blockchain has to incentivize the truth, transparency, and accountability, real change can finally be achieved with the right set of strategies.