Alternative Blockchain Uses: Elections, Product Reviews and Fraud Prevention
Community-driven Blockchain initiatives could be the future for transparent voting systems.
Decentralization and its effect on the economy is a controversial topic that has pervaded discussion throughout online communities as well as mainstream and alternative media outlets thanks, in part, to Bitcoin's roller-coaster ride throughout 2017.
This phenomenon has also threatened the infrastructural payment processing monopolies whose power has traditionally owed to their near-absolute control over transaction processing, authorization and governance.
Just like this effect of cryptocurrency on wealth and economy: Blockchain solutions when used for rating/voting systems has the potential to return political and democratic power to the hands of the voting citizens if implemented correctly as a method for vote processing and verification.
Fraud claims and electronic voting machines
Election Fraud has been in the news lately due to the recent US state election in Alabama, which resulted in a (disqualified) legal contest from losing Republican candidate Roy Moore. A significant and controversial talking point surrounding the election was the state's ruling prior to the casting of votes, to erase all electronic votes, thus eliminating the option for a re-count on the event of a dispute such as this.
Proving that this repeat issue should be a bipartisan one: the same thing happened earlier this same year. In June, the state of Georgia deleted their electronic voting records after an election which resulted in the election of a Republican.
Some have argued these instances can be attributed to flaws in either the hardware or software, exposing vulnerabilities to incidents such as technical faults or tampering, thus damaging the integrity of the data produced.
The current landscape of Blockchain security
Dealing with a concept as foreign as decentralized regulation of central government, we need to ensure that the argument for an alternative is both compelling and consistent if anything is going to change. In light of this, we must also consider how (and whether) a proposed Blockchain based solution would be capable of providing a sufficient standard of protection for highly confidential information.
The risk of malicious attacks executed by external parties is an endemic concern faced by Blockchain users and ICOs. The vulnerability has also been known to extend to internal cases, such as the accusations that have led up to the ongoing insider trading scandal at Coinbase, which has in particular helped to highlight the real threat that these bad actors pose to the crypto economy.
Because of this, these new token creators need to exercise extreme due diligence when creating their infrastructures in order to cover themselves and most importantly the customers: who need to be made to feel as secure as possible when investing time and money into risky ventures such as an ICO. Many Blockchain innovators are wisely diverting a large amount of resources to fill these security gaps: implementing comprehensive preventative and reactive strategies based on a combination of process and technology-driven solutions.
Parity begins at home
It may appear to be a long way from becoming a tool for fighting political corruption but as a real-life case study: Zurich, Switzerland based Lina make a strong proposition with their unique MVP, which aims to reduce unethical practices in the review sector. Arguably, the core benefits that their current system proposes to deliver are applicable to a range of uses beyond just reviews: primarily data integrity, traceability and transparency.
Lina aims to become the world’s first community-driven “tokenized” user review system with practical applications that range from household goods to digital media such as video-games. Their system's objective is to resolve the discrepancies that plague online reviews including unreliable write-ups from paid reviews or the company's own staff; greater demand for customer reviews than there is supply, and the prioritization of quantity and aggregate scores over quality assessments from prolific reviewers.
As a user review platform 'Lina.review' is quite possibly the first market offering of its type. It would be great to see where their project goes and whether they get the partnerships that would help launch their project into the mainstream discussion.
They have truly put the proverbial horse before the cart with this successful platform which was established long before the announcement of their ICO, which is set to launch on Jan. 15, 2018 - suggesting that they have tested the system thoroughly, as they claim to look after a worldwide community of users.
Daniel Mitchell, Guest Author
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