Sustainability Problem: Citizen Engagement
- Brazil’s most recent constitution, from 1988, created a form of “direct democracy,” that works as follows: If 1% of the voters sign a petition in support of a new law, the Brazilian Congress must recognize it as an official draft bill and vote it as such. Nowadays, you would need 1.5 million paper signatures for that.
- Since 1988, this “direct democracy” mechanism has been used only four times, with limited success. Paper signatures do not work well for that process.
- But what if we could remove the challenge of collecting 1.5 million paper signatures by collecting them digitally and then registering them with blockchain?
Technology: Mudamos, a blockchain-based application
- The Institute for Technology & Society (ITS Rio) recently launched “Mudamos “, a blockchain-based application that establishes the identity of voters (based on a unique identification number each voter and taxpayer receives from the government in Brazil), and allows them to formally express their support for social-driven draft bills.
- The blockchain creates an immutable record of signatures, attached directly to the identity of the voter. Because of the blockchain and other certification mechanisms that ITS Rio is adopting, the possibility of fraud is much lower than when paper signatures are used.
- These bills are not approved automatically. They must be voted on, just like any other bill of law. However, the simple possibility of introducing a new bill of law in Congress (or other State and City legislative houses) can lead to a new and promising relationship between social agendas and governments.
- Groups of interest
- The app has already been launched and it was downloaded by 600 thousand people in the first two months after its launch
- Next steps are to monitor social-driven draft bills with necessary amount of votes that are introduced in the Congress
- Develop a program evaluation of the app