A guest post by Nicholas Russell
It is widely known in Scotland’s YES movement that back in the 1950s our predecessors delivered 2 million Scotland signatures in favour of independence. However, those paper signatures were able to be disputed and ignored by Westminster.
Fast forward to 2020, and technology has now delivered a ground-breaking pioneering reality, capable of defining a population majority in favour of independence, with signatures which are immutable, indelible, unique and indisputable. And that process itself has already started being recorded upon Ethereum blockchain.
Previously, Business for Scotland has led the way for mainstream media, in highlighting what blockchain can do for Scotland’s future, with truly profound benefits across the span of government, infrastructure, social good, and democracy. Our previous blockchain trilogy firstly focused on how voting can be transformed. Then we delivered a bridge of understanding between the general public and blockchain academics within The Blockchain Technology Laboratory at The Edinburgh University. Thirdly, we introduced the very first political perspectives.
Subsequent to this, Business for Scotland then delivered the opening call for the establishment of The Scottish Common Blockchain.
In the meantime, the global progress of all matters blockchain is of course relentless. London now has over two hundred blockchain companies, whereas Scotland has a mere handful. But that could be about to change, when Scotland bears witness to what blockchain can actually do.
Governments worldwide are now beginning to fully recognise revolutionary blockchain potentials, and entrepreneurial spirit will of course deliver mass ongoing change in the private sector. In many circumstances the private sector will be ahead of the government curve. This is now evidenced in Scotland.
Scotland does not yet have a befitting national identity scheme. If we did, then Scotland’s government could have delivered an overview of what we are about to define in this article.
The first architectural cornerstone of The Scottish Common Blockchain hasn’t been delivered by government. It has been delivered by citizen volunteer community. It was after all, only a matter of time until this capability was arrived at. Specifically, those who have delivered the project, are the same individuals who have already delivered over the previous decade, what is termed as ‘the finest written constitution in existence’, currently held for Scotland in the form of a developmental prototype, which will require mass citizen input to finalise. Noted, that constitution is also the first in the world to be wired with blockchain.
So, say hello to the overview of the 21st century independence Covenant. Those who wish to do so can enter the platform’s website, upload personal identity which proves eligibility to participate, and then define a Yes in favour of independence. The submitted information is then approved or otherwise, in ‘a human cleanroom process’, with those who have been successful then receiving an email with a unique Transaction ID from the Ethereum chain. All accumulating results are visible for one and all.
The platform itself is enabled for progressive crowdfunding, with costs for a 2.2 million population majority, defined as being a mere fraction of the cost of the 2014 referendum.
There are extremely comprehensive policies in place for data protection. Data entered is held on a Secure Database until verification is complete, at which point most of it is deleted and only email addresses and Transaction ID from the Blockchain remain. Given the emerging scale, potentials and public reactions, the further intention is to go to a security level which is absolutely unprecedented for Scotland democracy, with the master data to be transferred onto Encrypted Portable devices, and placed into FCA-registered secure vault storage. This is for everyone’s unparalleled security, and absolute peace of mind. Master data will be retained until such a time that the majority is defined. At that point, all information passes to the Scottish government, as the expressed sovereign will of the people of Scotland.
There will also be one further master copy of the data retained, if required for the specific purpose of directly exercising Scotland’s United Nations rights to self-determination, over and above any remit of the Scottish Government. In other words, if Westminster removes the powers of the Scottish Government to the point where a Declaration of Independence cannot be made, the citizens themselves can take that action.
Specifically, having been deleted from the Secure Database, offline Data kept intact for the post-Handover-Verification includes two submission images, Form Data, encrypted hash and declarations, thereby totalling 5 files per person. There is also a link with checksums of the combined files written to the Blockchain, so those files cannot ever be tampered with in any way, or it will be evident. What is delivered here, are absolutely new levels of security for this, and future global democracy.
And this is where it then gets very interesting indeed. Each citizen who has a Transaction ID, is already subsequently able to join The Scottish Digital Assembly. This has one purpose, to take the existing prototype of the written constitution for Scotland, and utilise blockchain democracy capability, to ask the people themselves to refine and adapt all aspects, thereby defining the sort of country that Scotland will become. Who are we, what are our values, and how do we wish our defining ambitions to be seen, whilst taking our place on the world stage, with the reality of becoming one of Europe’s wealthiest independent countries? That future is all there now, to be achieved, by asking millions of people for their personal direct input.
So, how will Scotland familiarise with the Covenant? First things first, on 18th September 2020, a group of walkers will start walking from Eilean Donan Castle, on a 1,320 mile journey taking the Covenant overview to villages, towns and cities across Scotland. The group includes citizens who previously joined together to walk 500 miles in 2018, highlighting what blockchain can do for Scotland’s future democracy.
It is anticipated that 2020 holistic community spirit, shared values, and accelerated social media can have capability to drive Scotland to 3 million YES signatures, representing 65% Yes for independence. Such a result would of course be truly wonderful for future population happiness.
The Covenant process has already received the backing of many key Yes organisations. This also includes the organisers of All Under One Banner independence marches. The 2018 blockchain walk concluded with 130,000 citizens marching down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. In 2020, the capability is now fully enabled for all of those citizens to formally record their Yes for independence, and then to encourage everyone they know, to also do the same.
Scotland’s United Nations rights to self-determination have been denied by Westminster refusing a Section 30 Order for a paper vote referendum, so very clearly now the citizens of Scotland have delivered their own solution to this, by digitalising democracy and nailing it on Ethereum.
What happens next is up to the people of Scotland. With Yes now very significantly ahead in national polling, the opportunity presents itself for consolidation, and realisation that it’s now time for Scotland to become a normal country, with all decisions being made here in Scotland, for the people of Scotland. The past cannot be altered, but the new future can be defined, especially for the many former ‘soft No’s’ who have now switched to YES due to Scotland being dragged out of the EU against the nation’s will, Brexit looming on the horizon, and the way in which the COVID-19 pandemic has been so efficiently managed by Scotland’s government. These are fertile circumstances for the making of many new friendships.
With the eyes of the world upon Scotland and this new form of democracy, the opportunity presents itself for the making of new global progress for 21st century democracy. There’s only one way to make that happen, and it’s via community. All best wishes Scotland.