While Switzerland already made attempts to implement blockchain technology into the voting system, it’s still too early to even think about worldwide implementation. This however, can also be a good thing. There’s currently a high risk of negative influence on your blockchain. This negative influence can potentially come from the so called dark DAO.
According the paper published a group of Cornell University researchers, there is a currently a scheme, which manipulates votes. It was termed as a dark decentralized autonomous organization or a “dark DAO.”
The dark DAO is an entity which is set up in smart contracts. It’s undetectable and it will buy user votes in order to overload governance systems. False signals will be issued and in some cases even market manipulation is possible.
The paper also states that such an attack would have immeasurable consequences mostly due to the fact that it’s applicable to any project, which uses a governance form where those owning the most have a say in important decisions.
This can be seen in projects like Tezos, EOS, Tron where various forms of blockchain voting are deployed in an effort to formalize decision-making on the software. Many of these systems rely in the delegated proof-of-stake technology. It requires a certain number of nodes to be picked in order to validate transactions on the network.
This means that token holders can stake their coins – effectively posting them on the blockchain to prove they are in possession – in an effort to make their votes go further. Blockchains also face difficulties when they allow stakeholders to vote on important tech changes.
Even though many of those projects have seen reasonable progress, the researchers believe that a dark DAO could throw everything into chaos like never before.
A big dilemma presents itself when it’s evident that entepreneurs in the blockchain sphere ignore solid evidence from past analysis. Vitalik Buterin has been a strong opponent of on-chain voting mechanisms as he seems to regard them as “plutocracies”. This effectively means that those, which own the most – rule.
This of course doesn’t mean that systems, which are different than the ones employed by on-chain governance are safe. This can be seen in a bribery attack, which can be committed against ethereum’s signalling tool, called Carbon Vote.
This supposed bribery attack features a smart contract offering to buy votes in a private or public way. As blockchain communication increases, such attacks are possibly going to become more frequent.
Even though the paper looks grim, other researchers aren’t especially fazed. Experts believe that too little practice was put into smart contract-based autonomous organizations since the famous DAO hack of 2016. So this leads to the belief that a dark DAO being developed is a very unlikely possibility.
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