Creating binding citizen input into policy-making processes using the blockchain

During the Dutch Blockchain Hackathon ’17, the P2Politics team build a working voting system on the Ethereum testnet.

The essence of the P2Pollder application is that it creates binding citizen input into policy-making processes while keeping checks & balances to the government enabling smaller gap between policy-making and citizen preferences.

Currently, citizens are facing misplaced trust in politics, no accountability to campaign promises by politicians, limited trust & feedback from current e-participation platforms and particularly hierarchical citizen participation processes. Not only citizens are facing problems with the current policy-making system in the Netherlands. Governments are struggling with limited citizen participation processes, discrepancy between citizen preferences and policies, and yet again, hierarchical citizen participation processes.

Citizens vote on political party that matches personal preferences once every 4 years. Yet political games, decision-makers’ personal preferences and false campaign promises determine the actual agenda setting and policy formulation. This results in a large gap between formulated policy and citizen preferences.

P2Pollder bridges this gap by involving the citizen directly in policy formulation.

The blockchain-system P2P allows citizens to vote on policy proposals with explanation, that are proposed by policy-makers. This proposal for new policy contains policy content, time-frame for voting and defined follow-up actions. Citizen input is provided throughout the whole decision-making process; from inquiry, to policy shaping, to policy proposals. The citizen has a display of community sentiment, accountability through follow-up action logging and transparency in proposer of policy in the system. This allows policy-makers to have input on proposals, follow-up action logging and overview of citizen sentiment in the P2Pollder system. And all of this fits within the current judicial system.

Why did we put this on a blockchain? Because this enables:

  1. The ability to define voters criteria
  2. Transparency enabling trust and reputation systems
  3. Automated execution by smart contracts

The P2Pollder system can be applied to political parties, national governments, city councils and (private) communities.

The impact on the user is that it enables auditable commitment from policy makers, transparency of policy decision-making processes, direct participation in policy-making arena, and the fact that he/she knows that their opinion matters. The impact of P2Pollder on governments includes citizen participation in desired topics, trust in participation input, faster and more transparent policy decision-making, a closer gap between policy and agenda setting and no middle man between government and citizens.

The P2Pollder Blockchain system allows for a smaller gap between policy-making and citizen preference and presents the benefits of both direct and indirect democracy.

View P2Pollder presentation on slideshare