Somebody was bound to take on the monumental challenge of implementing eVoting on the blockchain.
I am glad Agora (Switzerland, Lausanne) is taking a run at this big challenge. Evoting on the blockchain gets talked up a lot in the crypto space, most of that talk however is "Chin Music" (the sound of ones fingers tapping their chin).
The Agora ICO is coming up in August, on the backs of receiving their investment, so Agora looks promising, at least at first glance. (This is not an endorsement or investment advice on my part)
Generally, to preserve Democracy and see it thrive in this 21st of Centuries worldwide, we need more startup's like Agora to create a robust eVoting Blockchain market space, simply to protect the tax payer citizen, you. When there is more choice, a market develops more quickly as the "market pie" expands exponentially. In fact I would argue AGORA needs more competitors to actually grow and thrive. It's very early days, so lots of opportunity.
TK Note- My case in point was my time at Cisco from September 1989 to Spring of 1994, Cisco Systems took off when Wellfleet Networks showed up in 1991 (later Bay Networks which was absorbed into the now defunct Nortel entity). Customer's finally had two really decent choices for inter-network routing in the WA and MAN market segments initially served, and well the reset was history. Cisco grew from $11.9 Million to over US $1Billion in five short years, and Wellfleet was not much further behind (actually gaining overall market share during that period.)
Lausanne, Switizerland's Agora's promise is to enable "Secure and transparent digital voting" https://agora.vote/
How Agora does it? " We leverage the unique attributes of blockchain technology to design the next generation of voting systems for governments and organizations."
OK all good "Motherhood and Apple Pie" marketing spin, but how does AGORA really work, and who else is out there looking to have Blockchain not only protect your democratic rights through a single eVoting event, but also make sure (more importantly), once voted in, the newly formed government actually does what it said it would do according to the political platform and government budget they sold the electorate, with all governments subsequent house and congress votes and related budget spend transactions visible for anyone to see on a distributed public blockchain with an user interface "UI" that is free for use on mobile on desktop which anyone can use?
The last part of the above goal is a tall order, that being essentially On-going government transparency to keep the government honest.
PROTECT THE TAX PAYER = VOTES? Ya Think?
On the government receipt side, the same is true for tax submission inflows from all of the tax payers. After all commercial and personal tax submissions are what the government is spending on their behalf. Hard earned equity redirected to governments to use in funding the execution of their platforms in the public sector. The same goes for money the government may print or actually borrow to finance their projects.
TECH CHOPS: Agora has them (at least at the investor level)
Fenbushi Capital, founded in 2015 is the latest circa a year ago August 2018 to become an Agora investor, which includes Dr. Feng Xiao - Vice Chairman of Wanxiang Holdings, Vitalik Buterin - Founder of Ethereum, and Bo Shen - co-founder of BitShares, so definitely they knew what they were investing in, as the technical "chops" so to speak, of Fenbushi Capital are definitely tier 1.
My Initial Outlook for Agora?
I am confident Agora wish to do what they say they will do, in fact they got part of the job done March 15th, 2018 in Sierra Leone, at least partially.., how well they will they execute to deliver use-able value in a reasonable time frame is open for debate. Their vision is a bit narrow as well, although their business model, making money on use, makes sense, they simply need to find more use cases, and to me, that means government budget management/release of funds to operations and session votes to make a decent go of it.
The CEO recently tweeted .. this past April 2019 "We make governments save and make money using Blockchain technology during elections..."
Ok a noble thought and a business strategy to monetize eVoting that is likely sound, however IMO, Agora does not go far enough with their vision.
Dont' Forget the Taxpayer
But what about the taxpayer paying the governments bills and salaries? We all want lower taxes, and Politicians want votes to become our stewards, so AGORA the message needs to be a bit better targeted, so they get more leverage and buy in from the government's looking to implement Blockchain powered eVoting and management of their operation and spend.
eVoting is only the first step in a fairly elected government's journey after the vote, a journey which can last two years, fours years and even five years in most democracies when all the corruption begins, and the waste of your tax payer money is consumed. Transparency over the entire elected term should be Agora's vision with the mission of delivering the tools integrators needs to realise that vision.
So Agora don't sell yourself short. Maybe you need to shift your value message a bit. :)
LOWERING THE COST OF GOVERNMENT, REDUCING TAX PAYER BURDEN
Distributed Public Blockchains can do MUCH more to lower government operating costs during their term in office, operating as the IT application server replacement back end to self service licensing online to ensure our government institutions who work for the people, become WAY MORE EFFICIENT in spending our hard earned tax submissions.
Large IT Integrators who already provide much of that infrastructure to governments worldwide should be taking a close look at AGORA. My advice to such integrators is join the AGORA community to help them develop the extensions needed in the platform. (TIETO, CGI, etc.., please take note.. ;)
Large IT Integrators can rescue Democracy by implementing Distributed Public Ledger "Blockchain" Tech, in Governments
And save the Tax Payer a bundle. :)
In fact it could be argued it will be the big system integrators who really effect government adoption of blockchain FOR USE IN MANY APPLICATIONS BEYOND EVOTING, as these large IT integrators, many global or at least regional in size and market coverage, are contractually bound to reduce operational expense with governments if the IT Integrators want to keep their contract going, and blockchain certainly has the tech to make these cost reductions happen and thus ensure contract renewal, evident in Agora's value creation and early market success implementing that value in Sierra Leone. :)
Integrators large and small building and maintaining LAMP and MEAN infrastructures in the Cloud or government Data Centers, ensuring the CX "Customer Experience is decent behind the taxpayer UI on their mobile phone or desktop need to really wake up and get going with blockchain eVoting, budget management and session voting use cases. https://www.linkedin.com/company/agorablockchain/about/
Agora appears to be a small focused and capable team pointed in the right direction with a really worthy cause, protecting the tax payer's money, by improving the efficiency of govt, and need to extend their vision to cover the term of government. I wish them well, and do follow them, now that I have learned a bit more.
AGORA's Upcoming ICO: A Few Facts and links
As far as the upcoming ICO is concerned its in August 2019, so for those interested in Democracy and government reform, please check out the link..
A few facts and links from that site...
TOKEN SALE: AUGUST (NO EXACT DATES)
- Ticker: VOTE
- Token type: ERC20
- ICO Token Price: 1 VOTE = 0.05100 USD
- Fundraising Goal: 20,000,000 USD
- Total Tokens: 1,000,000,000
- Available for Token Sale: 50%
- Whitelist: YES (SINCE 11 JUN, JOIN )
- Know Your Customer (KYC): YES (SINCE 11 JUN)
- Min/Max Personal Cap: 1 ETH / TBA
- Accepts: ETH
- Role of Token: UTILITY https://www.agora.vote/about
nb- there are couple of projects , one listed on ICORadar and also several projects using the Agora label in several forms in Github which do not bear any resemblance, so don't get distracted
This appears to be the correct github link https://github.com/agoravoting/agora-ciudadana/graphs/contributors
Describing a "liquid Voting system made with python and django", and at first glance looks right, but correct me if I am wrong... please, I miss the transparency and commitment to Open source principles on their site, so Agora team how about a little bit more transparency please? :)
A Blockchain Powered Democracy: More than a Pipe Dream, A Tax Payer's Hope!
Think of how much lower your taxes will be if your governments used Blockchain to enable new self-service efficiencies in voting , licensing and budget management everyday for the life of their government's term, with Blockchain keeping governments transparent every day, all year.
I wish Agora luck, and I also hope others will take note and join the community there to learn more.
Worst case anyone with interest in eVoting, can send me a note and be counted, I am all ears and will report on all other platforms which might compliment or even compete with Agora, in the name of blockchain powered democracy.
Finally the folks at Agora might want to take a closer look at IOTA research in the e Voting space, they have some good ideas there, based on their DAG "Directed Acylic Graph" distributed public ledger design "SANS Blockchain". https://firstname.lastname@example.org/e-voting-on-the-tangle-e293d13552a1
Other Alternatives?: IOTA eVoting research for one..
Get busy right away, today running your own voting poll on IOTA's DAG based Distributed Public Ledger and tryout Votangle.io https://www.votangle.io/#/
IOTA https://www.iota.org/ is growing fast and have the resources, community developer project funds and the IamPass https://blog.iota.org/iotas-tangle-powers-iampass-biometric-palm-vein-authentication-for-digital-identity-3cd0acef8bd9 partnership in Switzerland up the street in Zurich, although this might not sit well with their Ethereum-centric ERC20 investors @Agora.
That said, integrating IOTA with ERC20 blockchains is getting easier every day (Chainlink is one possibility bridged via an IOTA oracle), so maybe IOTA does the eVoting "edge"where you need transaction speed during a public vote with millions of voters, and we leave the ERC20 slower, application tool and smart contract rich blockchain to do the "heavy lifting", managing budgets (as smart contracts) and the back office of government and votes (as smart contracts controlling release of funds) during government sessions. Something to think about. IOTA has been thinking about eVoting and the tech required behind since 2015 when they first formed... when Qubichttps://qubic.iota.org/ shows up soon, IOTA will have a comprehensive means to implement eVoting at scale, ready for use by any IT integrator looking to build eVoting solutions for government very,very soon.
One thing for sure using Iampass to register as a voter and place your vote , you aren't worried about forgetting your password during the vote and the "polling station" could be anywhere online, anytime, many times (just like in Switzerland, where they seem to vote every two weeks on something, having been there and observed it all over seven years) :)
DISTRIBUTED PUBLIC LEDGERS: THE POWER TO SAVE DEMOCRACY (So developers get going and save it...)
Democracy in all forms can benefit and flourish by implementing distributed public ledgers to manage eVoting and government operations and session voting, , and the world will be a better place. A much better place..
We just need to find the politicians with the "nads" (Bollocks) to put blockchain on their election platform and promote government transparency, both really "tall orders". ;/
Swiss to the Rescue of Democracy? Maybe, at least they are trying...in Kanton Zug... (cuz it's all about the Tax Payer there..)
Check the link below on how Kanton Zug in Switzerland (my home away from home a few years ago, for about Seven years) the people there are solidly behind the eVoting on Blockchain idea and are looking to adopt the blockchain for eVoting for everything.The people there want it for many a good reason, lots of facts in the link below, Luxsoft https://www.luxoft.com/ is the blockchain vendor for those rearly pilots. ;)
TK over and out