Could Democracy finally come within reach?
To this day, direct democracy remains largely a dream. Yes, we have the digital tools that could technically support large-scale participation, but there’s a major barrier — trust.
Web2 systems centralize power in institutions like bureaucracies and private platforms
This concentration of authority invites corruption, as closed systems lack accountability.
Voting is the perfect example of those pitfalls. In most western nations, elections are extraordinarily expensive endeavors while still fundamentally bureaucratic. Sticking to paper-and-ink systems, electoral bodies resist digital tools that could lower costs and increase accessibility.
Worse, doubts persist about results despite the logistical nightmares. Voters have little to no recourse to verify outcomes in opaque, centralized processes. This lack of trust explains why participation is limited to brief, intermittent ceremonies every few years, with voter turnout and engagement continuing to decline to all-time lows across Western democracies.
“This lack of trust explains why participation is limited to brief, intermittent ceremonies every few years, with voter turnout and engagement continuing to decline to all-time lows across Western democracies.”
But what if there was a technology that could transform this picture? A way to enable records and participation to be verified without a centralized authority?
If you know me, you probably know where this is going.
Blockchain and the evolving web3 space offers this exciting potential.
By distributing information across decentralized nodes, blockchain allows for transparency, immutability, and consensus without requiring a trusted third party.
Just Imagine this: Citizens voting multiple times a month securely from the comfort of their homes or on the go while commuting, with each vote instantly verifiable and impossible to falsify.
Blockchain and the evolving web3 space offers this exciting potential. It makes voting cheap, quick, easy, and trustable — yet remain impossible for centralized powers to falsify.
Real-world initiatives, like Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), are already exploring this potential.
DAOs are a new type of organisations that use blockchain to facilitate decision-making and governance, very close to what we call in France “cooperatives”. To me, they are the most compelling illustration that a new form of democracy isn’t merely a dream, but a burgeoning reality.
Yet, challenges remain. Those benefiting from current systems will likely resist change. Additionally, many citizens now have eco-concerns, especially regarding Bitcoin’s high energy use — a narrative often portrayed in mainstream media.
“Additionally, many citizens now have eco-concerns, especially regarding Bitcoin’s high energy use — a narrative often portrayed in mainstream media.”
However, I believe blockchain can overcome these hurdles by demonstrating applications beyond just energy-intensive operations. The technology provides genuine solutions to issues of trust and participation at scale. And many emerging blockchain projects are opting for alternative consensus methods that require far less computational power, be it only Ethereum.
With real-world governance use cases, citizens can understand blockchain’s vast potential beyond finance. The path forward involves raising awareness and starting small with local trials of blockchain voting and governance. As people experience the benefits firsthand, objections around energy can give way to enthusiasm about empowerment.
By focusing the narrative on blockchain’s capacity to enable trust and inclusion for all citizens, the viable path forward will come into view. This is not just about novel currencies, but about decentralized democratic participation.
With time and education, blockchain can gain widespread acceptance as an enabler of direct democracy.
So what are we waiting for?