The presidential election of 2016 is a watershed event in American and global politics. This is true for a number of reasons. What interests me most as a technologist working with blockchains, especially Ethereum , is the mounting evidence we’ve seen through its lens that the world is becoming increasingly decentralized, and that the power of decentralizing technologies to affect current and future political outcomes — and even the internal structuring of nation states — is growing exponentially.
The simplest example is how in the past, presidential candidates came straight from the halls of official authority, where they held titles as governors, senators, congressmen, etc. This year we departed from that model, fielding a candidate more likely to be caught in a government building fending off a lawsuit than writing policy. By tapping into the prevailing disenfranchisement of Main Street, this “populist” candidate was actually able to participate in the final sprint to the finish line.
What’s more, this year we saw emerge a motley crew of foreign and non-state actors with real power to impact who becomes president. While past elections were doubtless influenced by a variety of furtive interests, those interests were probably at least mostly American. From Wikileaks to Anonymous, decentralized actors can exert surprising influence to disrupt American control over the race. A single foreign controller of a large botnet (such as in the recent DDoS attack of Internet services ) can wreak enormous havoc, which, if timed correctly, can affect events at a distance. America has been reaching out for a long time to “police the world” and now the world is becoming increasingly capable of exerting some “checks and balances” directly upon the American political system. …Continue