New Australian Political Party Seeks to Popularize Blockchain Voting

| Published on February 17, 2016 at 16:56 BST

A new Australian political party has proposed the introduction of a token-based political system based on the concept of decentralised blockchain technology.

Called the Flux Party, the new entity has already attracted more than the 500 members it needs to potentially place senate candidates on ballots in all the country's states. However, the party's immediate goal is to try and elect six senators, according to Reuters.

Notably, the Flux Party will be free of its own policies, instead opting for its senators to vote for or against legislation at the bidding of token holders.

Party co-founder Max Kaye told the news source:

"If they didn't have to be senators, if they could just be software or robots they would be, because their only purpose is to do what the people want them to do."

At election time, the bitcoin-like tokens would be issued to Flux members – as well as single-issue campaigners that support the party. The tokens can then be used either use to vote, trade with others or give to trusted third parties to carry out proxy votes.

The results of the voting would be distributed proportionately – for example, with an 80% to 20% vote in favor of a bill, five Flux senators would vote for and one against.

Suggesting that the current democratic system is too antiquated for the Internet era, Kaye told Reuters that, while ministers sometimes do not have expertise on all issues, they are trusted with making vital decisions on policies affecting environmental or monetary policy.

The Flux Party system would mean that large numbers of of voters could effectively grant their votes to experts such as scientists or economists on these issues.

Describing itself as a "layer for the redistribution of political power", Flux says on its website:

"Our current system doesn't work well enough; politics gets in the way of policy. Flux is an incremental upgrade to democracy designed to redistribute political power, maximise participation, remove bad policy, and empower voters."

Initial critiques

While Flux's proposed voting system is potentially workable, bitcoin expert Dr Adrian Lee from the University of Technology Sydney told Reuters the absence of a legal mechanism to ensure senators vote as directed could be problematic for the party.

The concept of blockchain-based voting systems is not a new one. Just days ago, stock market giant Nasdaq revealed it is developing an electronic shareholder voting system for the Estonian stock market based on blockchain technology.

And, almost exactly a year ago, the Bitcoin Foundation allowed members to cast votes in an election round directly on the bitcoin blockchain, though this test was not without issues.

Image via Shutterstock

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