Blockchain Platform for the Organization of a Political Party, Social Movement, International Organizations, Public Companies, etc.

ARTICLE | | BY Mariana Todorova

Mariana Todorova

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DG Agora is a P2P system for providing confidence and organization of power. It may serve not only for the establishment of new social organizations, movements, parties, and cooperatives, but also for democratic structuring and organization of already existing power organizations of private, state or cooperative characters, as well. In the text, we focus upon the potential of this system in the social, political and corporate life of a certain community or the whole society.

1. What are the Issues of Contemporary Democracy?

Since ancient times, the times of Socrates and Aristotle, the subject of democracy has been contradictory and has been discussed up until the present day. The basic issues have always been:

  • Who rules and what are the civil rights and obligations?
  • What are the limits of power—limited or unlimited?
  • What are the targets and who is entitled to them? (i.e. are they in the name of freedom (the individual rights) or equality (the social justice))?
  • Should the social government be direct or by a representative institution and what is the attitude to the subject: “elite-masses”?
  • What role does class structure play in society (social-economic and cultural prerequisites)?

Today, direct democracy (except with referenda) is practically impossible in its pure form, but the representative form leads to increasing defects, changing the essence of government. A number of theories exist on how to improve the representative democracy, but they still retain weaknesses in one or another aspect.

“The experts”, who should represent the citizens are often unfamiliar, while the choice is limited to the candidates on party lists. The same holds true about the Board of Directors in companies or pundits in nonprofit organizations.

A different type of minorities—ethnic or with other specific interests, remain unrepresented. This is especially true of the young people under 29, of whom only 20% cast their vote in the USA.

It is difficult for the elected representatives, governors, directors and leader to be held responsible because they make their promises and programs ahead of elections and procedures, thus consequently possess the comfort of several years (4-5 years terms in different organizations) in which they cannot be directly subject to control or dismissed. In this way, the so-called policy of the election cycles emerges.

Last, but not least, conditions for corruption are established in the representative power and some business sectors because of the presence of a concentration of power. The concentration of power, for its part, leads to opportunities for the manipulation of society with the purpose of an increased concentration of power. Such a cycle is synthesized in one simple phrase of one great author: “The purpose of power is power (George Orwell).

2. What is the Solution?

Liquid democracy gives the opportunity to combine the advantages of direct and representative democracy, while neutralizing to a great extent their disadvantages. It is a sub-type of delegating democracy and allows the operation of a mechanism for collective decision-making of the large communities. Liquid democracy establishes such system of voting, whereby the voter has the right to vote directly or to delegate this right to a confided person, who according to them has the competency to come up with the best solution.

By the act of delegation, those who are not competent will be mindful, while those who have specific knowledge will be able to apply their competency, while both subjects bear responsibility. The delegating person has the right to authorize various experts in different areas, without limitations, when the person will not exercise his right to vote. This is a model that essentially unites the good aspects of the two types of democracy—direct and representative (when on the one hand, the person exercises his vote for everything, while on the other hand, the person gives this right to another person or a party subject for a period of time, without accountability on their part).

Another characteristic feature of liquid democracy is its negotiability; i.e. authorizations may be granted to second or third subjects. This is a recommendation for voting, but not a blind authorization.

3. Advantages of Liquid Democracy

  • Truly democratic

Unlike the other two types of democracy where personality is either overloaded or very weakly involved, here every person decides to what degree he or she will be involved.

  • Easy access and low-level entry

To participate in this system, people who are already members have an easy mechanism to guarantee and confirm the authenticity of every new personality.

  • Cooperation is in the foreground before the competition.

The important thing is not so much to win in the individual campaigns, but to gain the permanent confidence of those who support you.

  • Liquid democracy establishes and promotes responsibility, because in its essence there is an exchange of confidence, which attributes its value!

If confidence is violated, the voting person has the right to exercise his right to vote alone, or to give it to someone else. Because anybody, at anytime may lose confidence, they will have a stimulus to vote in favor of the community/society, rather than that of their personal interest.

  • Liquid democracy gives a guaranteed access to the minorities, without the need of protectionist quotas or a strife to overcome the limitation through enacting a percentage threshold or other such policies.

In this model, when considering a larger scale, we will have a direct reflection and a real representation of a social structure.

  • It leads to better and informed solutions.

The confidence will be won by the most gifted, knowledgeable and experienced experts.

  • Liquid democracy is effective and has the capacity to build a new system for government and the organization of society.

In the age of narrow specialization, only a few people may be competent on many issues, but through liquid democracy, people are included and active even via the granted choice of a competent and/or confided person.

4. How can the model of Liquid Democracy be improved and introduced by means of the Blockchain Technology?

In order to realize the blockchain technology, it is easiest first to grasp that the Jacquard loom is already located on the Internet! We already operate in the digital world and thus we are already creating a history of online activity. What is offered by the AGORA 2.0 platform is to begin to build upon it by providing the confidence in an anonymous and decentralized way. P2P technology allows precisely this, the blockchain will only prove to us whether this is happening, or if this has already happened. The synergy with the blockchain technology will bring democracy, governance and decision-making to a new level, as well as a change of the status quo and a construction of a new paradigm for society’s evolution. Blockchain provides the right mechanisms to exercise liquid democracy.

The public life, the contemporary agora, is replaced gradually into digital space because it no longer finds soil in the physical world. The future path for civil, political or corporate involvement of personalities or communities is not by the physical presence of meetings but by an active involvement and construction of a network of horizontal relations in the digital world and contemporary online platforms.

Among the most essential issues remains the issue of confidence! This is the reason there should be a guarantee for the citizens concerning the authenticity and invariability of their choice, of the already granted or assigned confidence. Blockchain technology will allow the establishment of an Eternal public record of these relations, without violating the anonymity of individual persons.

" DG Agora is a digital SAAS created to empower public companies, large NGOs, political parties, governmental bodies and civil movements with a novel cost-effective communication system that brings engagement of their shareholders, members, stakeholders and voters in an inclusive secure way and makes it possible to apply liquid democracy for a much more fluid and transparent governance.”

The mediation in the undertaking of socially significant decisions by the system of the representative democracy not only in political dimensions, as we already demonstrated, is a phenomenon which is proving its growing inefficiency. Each concentration of power in a separate individual almost always distorts or makes mercenary the social expression of will. Through blockchain technology we can establish a system for issuance of authorizations, allowing anyone to be able in real time to empower their own personal representatives or to take away their confidence and power.

5. What is DG Agora?

DG Agora is a digital SAAS created to empower public companies, large NGOs, political parties, governmental bodies and civil movements with a novel cost-effective communication system that brings engagement of their shareholders, members, stakeholders and voters in an inclusive secure way and makes it possible to apply liquid democracy for a much more fluid and transparent governance of investor and shareholder members relations.

There will be no more costly communication with investors and shareholders, no more ineffective general assemblies and poorly uninformed decision making!

DG Agora equips interested stakeholders with a powerful digital tool to engage with their customers, maintain trust and develop agile and transparent approach in a situation of sensitive societal and managerial matter like shareholders’ activism, real-time sociology and patients’ democracy.

There will no longer be disengaged members and uninformed voters. DG Agora brings inclusiveness, continuous engagement with its members and tools to understand the data behind this interaction for precise and cost-effective decision making.

It is done by bringing in the most sophisticated system for exercising opinion for effective governance, known as liquid democracy for concrete business cases. Impossible until now, DG Agora achieves it by deploying Blockchain technology and a deep understanding of the communication processes.

DG Agora allows every user (depending on the segment—a shareholder, asset manager/ member of a cluster/NGO or member of a party) to vote in all kinds of general assemblies, board meetings, elections or voting events via a smartphone—practically from any place and in any time. DG Agora serves segments which are:

  • Huge organizations such as UN, World bank, OECD for communication with members and stakeholders, decision making, distributing of funds, etc.
  • Nonprofit Organizations—discussion and communication with donors and members, pool for collecting of opinions;
  • Civil movements for self-organizing, self-legitimizing and power proving (in front of authorities), etc.
  • Government and local authorities for organizing digital referenda for governance, redistribution, decentralization, etc.
  • Political parties for internal organization, real time discussions, real time sociology, decision making, consensus building, getting influence, etc.
  • Corporations and Public companies for shareholders’ activism (attracting new shareholders for new IPO companies, and SRCs for decentralizing and unbossy governance)—a decision making tool for shareholders annual meeting, internal employees discussion, clients and stakeholders communication for feedbacks and co-creation of solutions, etc.

All of the above segments are in a rapid change and a high pace of adopting digital solutions to improve governance and transparency.

The platform seeks niche deployment of technology and functions for specific cases like social movements structuring, policy digitizing, shareholders’ activism, companies with fragmented clientele, and companies in a need for better stakeholder engagement. Our comparative advantages are: facility to customize the product for different use cases, security and high quality Blockchain technology, team connections and deep understanding of the market.

DG Agora is co-founded by three team members with unique combination of skills and experiences. Mariana Todorova is the ideologist and inventor of the platform. She is a recognizable futurist with a PhD, an ex-politician, trend-scout, speaker and book author, head of the Bulgarian chapter of Millennium Project Think Tank and fellow of World Academy of Art and Science. Ivan Vankov is among the most respected IT specialists, an experienced software architect, lecturer and noble figure in blockchain community, co-founder of the widely successful Plastic Bank Project backed by IBM and currently in implementation in 5 countries. Lyubomir Stankov is a Blockchain enthusiast with over 20 years of experience of running his own business, and a member of the MENSA community.

The management structure is already in place as well as the formation of the Advisory board comprised by influential figures in the international scene of entrepreneurship, Blockchain for governance, policy making and prospective studies. The core team is set-up including tech team, MVP version of the product is released, the platform was presented at important events, key users were identified and letter of intent is expected.

In the 10 years horizon, DG Agora aims to be among the global leaders of providing liquid democracy as a service to domestic and supranational political parties, regional (municipalities), national, federal and state departments/governments and non-governmental organizations with large member communities.

Our objectives are to start the service in the civil sector and then to transfer it to political parties, corporations, cooperatives, communities, etc.

6. What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is an approach for the storage of information into a computer network, which is a constantly growing list of computer records, called “blocks”, connected with each other and encrypted cryptographically. The chain of blocks contains information for all the operations/ transactions ever performed in the database, starting from the very beginning. Each block contains information of the previous block. This provides for the chronological totality of the chain back to the first block.

Each block consists of a headline part and a list of transactions. The headline part of the block includes its own “hash”, as well as a hash of the previous block, the hashes of the transactions and additional service information. The information in the blocks is not encrypted and is accessible. This technology has been invented to guarantee security by its own design, because it does not allow modification of the data.

7. How can we be sure that no one may change the information?

(Some technical aspects)

When there is a constructed process between two or more sides, this process (the platform) will be observed by all of them. Blockchain removes the centralized point; in other words, in the case of the parties—the party monopoly which concentrates the power on who can be chosen as leaders and what ideas and causes can be formulated and defend will exist. In the case of the distributed ledger—each one of the participants has their own copy of the data. In the case of electronic voting and the election system, they will possess the results simultaneously with all the rest. While for the blockchain party platform this will mean that each person in real time will be able to see the rating of the offered persons and ideas. Each person registered on a network level will have the same information infrastructure, which is synchronized simultaneously. The distribution of information to all the participants makes its manipulation practically impossible.

Blockchain technology (Distributed ledger technology) is a guarantee against the intervention in the information; because all the participants have the same information available. Each person in the chain may review and audit the data. If someone tries to change the information, the entire blockchain will collapse. This would happen due to the fact that each block contains information about the previous block. Within the framework of the so-called smart contract, we clarify the rules of work and the actions in concrete steps (A, B, C, D…).

While the smart contracts are a program code (chain code). The program code has the capacity and the capabilities to be perfected and made complex. That is, it guarantees to the user a process of repeated action. Only they (the smart contracts) may be able to read the ledger.

A number of actions may be performed in the set condition that step B may be performed only when step A is a fact. The same applies to C, which may require a simultaneous or consecutive performance of A and B, etc. The operation is not performed at one centralized place, rather it can be performed from any location. Thus, confidence between the participators, which initially do not have confidence, may be guaranteed.

About the Author(s)

Mariana Todorova
Member of Parliament, National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria; Assistant Professor, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.