These days, there is endless discussion about blockchain and cryptocurrencies and what they mean for both the modern world and the future. Will they replace fiat currency? Lead to more financial inclusion? Trigger the robot apocalypse?
While all these are worthwhile questions, one aspect of blockchain’s impact on the world that is getting more attention is its impact on Democracy. This is particularly a pressing issue for emerging and developing countries like India. Thanks to a combination of its large population and technological advancements in the last few decades, India is solidly putting itself on the world map when it comes to blockchain.
With a national blockchain in view and top blockchain companies like Matic coming from India, there is no telling where the future will go. As India celebrates its 73rd Republic day, it is worth asking what these new developments will mean for one of the emerging powers of South Asia’s Democracy.
How Does Blockchain Relate to Democracy?
Blockchain, at its core, is a technological tool that can be used for a number of different purposes. These purposes, in turn, can be used to uphold social systems or dismantle them. Take cryptocurrency, which is a product of blockchain. Cryptocurrency can be used to move money across borders virtually with no centralized interference.
Depending on what the funds are used for, they can influence the Democracy of where they are sent from and to. Blockchain technology is in the same boat as its myriad of applications can be used to both strengthen and weaken democracies.
All in all, it is clear that rather than avoiding or banning blockchain and cryptocurrencies as some lawmakers around the world have proposed, they should be leveraged for democratic purposes. This was a sentiment shared by Narendra Damodardas Modi, the Prime Minister of India as well.
In a recent speech, he noted, “We must also jointly shape global norms for emerging technologies like social media and crypto-currencies, so that they are used to empower Democracy, not to undermine it.”
Empowering Democracy – of the people, for the people and by the people
Both cryptocurrencies and blockchain have shown massive potential in being able to empower democracies, some of which are as follows:
Perhaps one of the cornerstones of Democracy is free and fair elections and the ability of the people to choose their leaders. As we all know, elections around the world are not always free and fair, but blockchain could be well on its way to changing this.
Blockchain networks create permanent records of the transactions that take place across them, and when applied to electoral processes, the results could be amazing.
Blockchain-based elections mean that the chances of results being forged, rigging, and so on are greatly reduced. It could also mean a faster and more efficient counting process. If elections can be perfected on a large scale in a country like India, the democratic process can be improved incomparably.
The bureaucratic process is one that deals with a lot of documentation, and having this documentation readily available goes a long way to ensure accountability. As has been seen in the past, the destruction of records is commonly done to hide evidence of corruption and illegal activity.
If government documents are stored on blockchains, they cannot be deleted or destroyed, and this will help to ensure that governments and those within them are held accountable to the people they are supposed to serve.
We have already seen instances of activists in places like China documenting their experiences and instances of government oppression. Compared to physical records or even websites, these accounts can permanently exist and can be used to demand Democracy and highlight situations of a failed Democracy.
Power to Crypto
Cryptocurrency and blockchain are some of the most disruptive technological innovations of our time and for good reasons. They can be used to secure and dismantle various systems or, in the case of Democracy, uphold them.
Because of its emphasis on decentralization and being a people-focused effort, blockchain is highly compatible with Democracy and giving power to the masses. Over time and with the right leverages, blockchain and crypto can very well help empower our Democracy.
India’s republic day comes each year, but the type of revolution being brought on by blockchain comes once a generation, if at all. If we can leverage the many tools that blockchain offers, India can not only reap the financial benefits but secure its Democracy both now and into the future.
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