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It has been almost 20 years since the world rang in the new millennium. Back then there was hope for a new global future where digital and economic connectivity would change our lives for the better, and ideas and information would be more important than national borders.
But today, wars and border conflicts are more common than ever. Displaced people now number 68.5 million worldwide. At the same time, 4 billion people around the world now use the internet and two-thirds of the world’s population now has a cell phone. Three billion people now use social media like Facebook and Twitter on a monthly basis.
A series of small and large revolts have taken place throughout the world. In some instances, they overthrew governments and proved that with the help of modern technology, people can be more powerful than the political system. Some examples include the “Arab Spring” started in Egypt and spread throughout the Middle East (2010–2014); the 2011–12 “Occupy” movement in the United States; “Gezi Park” regional protests Turkey in 2013; “Black Lives Matter” in the United States (2015–2018); and the most recent “Iranian Uprising” (2017–18).
Some see in these developments new possibilities for emancipation. For example, as one New York Times columnist wrote about the Arab Spring revolts in 2010, “On one side are government thugs firing bullets. On the other side are young protesters firing ‘tweets.’”
The Government Network is a blockchain project whose founders believe these events are the first stages of a global movement that will overthrow traditional governments and institutions. The project is banking on this for its use case, which is developing a new way to govern a society that is decentralized and focused on individual liberty.
The project is unique compared to other blockchain startups in that it is using blockchain technology to respond to the new cross-border landscape not only economically but also politically. It is aiming for nothing less than to create new global political structures without national borders in “a digital government environment” that will operate through a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation, or “DAO” accessible and free for all.
The features of The Government Network’s DAO nation reflect a libertarian politics focussed around the individual. Instead of a hierarchical structure managed by humans interacting in person and controlling property via a legal system, the DAO nation involves a set of people interacting with each other according to a protocol specified in code and enforced on the blockchain.
A company called GovLab is responsible for the creation of the DAO nation. Upon completion, GovLab will be relocated as an entity within the DAO. After that, it will be responsible for promoting citizen participation and driving innovation.
Unlike most entities that have tried to take over the role of the state, the Government Network is aiming at destroying existing state structures. Instead, it intends to compete with them. The Government Network will provide alternative governance solutions its citizens can use when favourable compared to their existing governments. In other words, The Government Network is planning to acquire citizens by offering a better political and economic environment than they can get in their home nations.
How does a DAO nation use blockchain technology to create a borderless nation? The implementation will start with a constitutional convention based on a set of core principles that the project believes can be guaranteed through transparent decentralised applications (dApps). The principles include: citizens have a veto in matters that impact them directly; there is a separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government; each branch of government must involve robust citizen participation mechanisms; equality among persons and other entities before the law.
The Constitutional Convention will be drafted by a group of prominent experts, business people, and humanists from a variety of fields with an aligned libertarian vision. The candidates for the drafting will be nominated by the first citizens of the Government Network. Once the constitution is in place, an interim government will organize the first democratic elections. The constitution will determine who is eligible to run for office.
A crucial part of the DAO nation is an innovative smart contract judicial system that includes arbitration courts, smart contract guidelines, and a “High Court of Governance” that would function similar to a Supreme Court. The Court is tasked with exposing governance needs throughout the DAO nation, which will form a base for the implementation of innovative governance solutions. It provides a voice to the citizens on subjects that involve problems with the DAO governance.
All financial activities will happen through dApps. For larger transactions, specific procedures will be put in place (e.g. property trade, public notary and service contracts). Dapps will target a variety of processes inherent to a successful rule of law such as voting mechanisms, decentralized identity management solutions, and escrow and arbitration services to fuel citizen, B2B and B2C trade. Private initiatives will be encouraged through a series of APIs that will enable the creation of new governance, business or humanitarian dApps.
The Government Network also intends to integrate cryptocurrency as an essential part of a borderless future. Cryptocurrencies and the underlying distributed ledger technology play a vital role in the DAO nation.
The Government Network is a unique blockchain project. It aims to build a new transnational nation that attracts citizens unsatisfied with their current governments, idealists believing in a borderless society, and those motivated by financial, business or personal incentives. Whether it ultimately succeeds in creating a full-fledged nation is unclear, but it could prove an exciting laboratory for developing new technologically-based governance solutions.
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