Cryptocurrencies not only introduced a new way of online trading, but also opened the door for even better technologies that would cut across several platforms and for multiple uses. Blockchain technology became increasingly popular with the advent of cryptocurrencies. As this particular technology is still improving, its popularity keeps increasing and drawing even more attention to it, as well as driving people to discover newer avenues where they can be efficiently utilized. Brazil is making headlines for having adopted to use the ethereum blockchain technology for their electoral system in the near future.
Projeto de lei de inciativia popular – known in English as Popular petitions – is a very key part of the Brazilian democratic political process. This allows for Brazil’s 145 million registered voters to have their opinions on very important socio-political issues heard by the government through the collection and verification of their signatures. However, because of the very many problems this brings about in terms of logistics (which we would not talk about), it has been questioned by several political analysts over the years. It has often times been touted as the root of Brazil’s political turmoil.
Gabriel Barbosa states that “when people are living paycheque to paycheque, or as the common saying in Brazil goes, ‘selling their lunch to buy their dinner,’ the cost of political participation becomes high enough so that people are excluded from the political process,”. This she said to emphasize on just how little effort had been put into getting the people’s opinions heard by the government, in that there was a severe lack of structures put in place to handle the cost of the people’s political engagement. Well this is why they are moving to the ethereum blockchain network.
A Switch to Ethereum Blockchain
Legislative adviser of the Brazilian Congress, Ricardo Fernandes Paixão, and Everton Fraga, a university professor, are leading a group of legislators in looking into how Brazil can use Ethereum’s blockchain network in to save and “process electoral votes”. This is all a part of the larger project of getting back on track the now partly shipwrecked Brazilian political system.
Processing of petition signatures on Ethereum’s blockchain would first of all require the use of smart contracts as well as operating as any other regular decentralized application on the blockchain network. Thus, Brazil’s electoral system would now be a decentralized application in itself (on the network) with its own digital token, which will now be used for the processing of the votes that come through the blockchain.
Actually, the use of this blockchain network in the processing of petitions as well as electoral votes requires the encryption of all votes on the network as transactions made. This is primarily to ensure that every data entering the system can’t be changed by a third party.
Law professor at the Universidade de Brasilia, Henrique Costa, emphasizes the problem posed by the inability to effectively collect the signatures of the votes that were cast when he makes this statement
“In part this is due to the absence of a platform that can securely collect the signatures of one percent of voters. We’ve been through a sort of crisis regarding the legitimacy…of our laws. Although the popular initiative does exist, there is no secure way to collect people’s signatures so people can propose bills themselves.”
In Brazil’s electoral system, a petition that has the signatures of just a percentage of the country’s population is supposed to receive a hearing at the Congress. Sadly, due to the poor handling of such votes in past time it has become increasingly difficult to find legislators to ensure the requisite action is taken in the Congress for such petitions.
A Mobile App for the New Development
Brazil’s government is looking at introducing a new mobile app that supports the Ethereum network. This is to enable people bring in their petition votes for easy collection and recording of data. Most people believe there is a very high probability of the government going ahead with this initiative due to the fact that since decentralized apps work well on mobile phones, the Brazilian electoral commission can also function in a like manner.
If they are to broadcast every single transaction on its own, the cost will be very high, thus a methodology has been adopted whereby all the daily votes will be sent in as just a transaction and then broadcasted on the main network. One of the leaders of the project states that whereas the matter is still in deliberation as to whether it will be implemented or not
“It would be a celebration of democracy. With this project, we are doing what the constitution says, but in practice, it hasn’t [yet] happened.”
Featured Image via Vector Toons