Year 2016 in Review from Democracy.Earth

Fellow Earth Democrats, 

During 2016 we can identify three major events signaling the current state of democracy in the world:

  • 🇬🇧 A surprising Brexit referendum in the UK that led to Britain pivoting towards leaving the European Union.The pattern found on this referendum has been consistent along with every other large-scale election of this kind: the elder go out to vote while the young do not engage. Urban areas tend to support open borders, while rural areas want protection. “There is an intergenerational tyranny going on” I’ve heard whisper during the World Economic Forum meeting held in Dubai last November. We firmly believe that the gap between generations is due to fundamentally one thing: the internet. The so-called millenials are not defined by the year 2000 but by the digital technology that is shaping their worldview every single day. Statistics prove that the digital gap, even within developing nations, is no longer due to socio-economical factors but purely driven by age since the introduction of the smartphone.

  • 🇨🇴 An unexpected No to peace in the Colombian referendum risking years of negotiation between the government & the marxist narco-guerrillas.We did our first public pilot of our new tech for this referendum. We got lobbied by think tanks to specifically avoid asking many questions in our pilot and keep the process using the same single question being asked by the government. We didn’t pay attention to that and did the referendum we would’ve liked to see happen: asking 7 questions, one for each aspect of the peace treaty being signed. Surprisingly, we where able to identify the deal breaker that led to a winning No in the official poll. “You got to prove what happens when you can seat the people at the negotiation table” Ernesto Dal Bo, head of the political economy faculty of UC Berkeley told us.


  • 🇺🇸 A shocking US presidential election that had as a decisive factor hacked e-mails from the democrat party leadership.Every US election is a milestone that helps understand the impact of media: Roosevelt & the radio; Kennedy & TV; Obama & social media. This year has proven to be a time where crypto and information security mattered more than ever before. A Russian-led task force hacked into the DNC database & Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta. The release of such e-mails from Wikileaks was perfectly timed to negatively impact Hillary’s campaign considering Julian Assange’s personal war with her. While the Clinton campaign relied on leaking scandalous material about Trump hoping for mainstream media repeated broadcast (and the media did respond to it); the Trump campaign kept doing constant, non-stop, softer but consistent blows throughout the whole campaign: e-mail revelations have proven to be a stronger kind of power display.

Right after the US election, Bitcoin’s price went from USD 710 per unit to a 3 year high of USD 920. An episode worth remembering is when Wikileaks released the US Embassy cables in 2011. Back then, such event led to credit card companies cutting ties with Assange’s organization in the hope to choke its funding but one line kept on working for them: Bitcoin. In 2014, we had the privilege of visiting US Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, and during this meeting we specifically warned: Bitcoin will globalize politics

So.. where do we go from here?

During election day, we released the source code of Sovereign. We have been working on it in stealth-mode during 2016 figuring how we can connect democratic governance to the security & accountability that is guaranteed by blockchains. Since then:

  • Our Github Repository managing the code got support from 350+ developers and new projects got started like Self, specifically focused on sovereign authentication. We are aiming for a 0.1.0 release of Sovereign in Q1 2017. 
  • Our Paris Conference we gave in May introducing the tech got 100,000+ views. A spike right after November 8 that we believe that it was led by YouTube’s recommendation algorithm.
  • Our Slack Channel grew to 180+ members & our Twitter feed now focused on sharing news about the Post Nation-State world in the works growing up to 6200+ followers.

We have now a clear understanding on what are the technical & political requirements to enable governance for institutions in a digital context. Looking ahead for 2017 we’ll be increasing our efforts developing Sovereign and releasing new instances in critical contexts as we look at the electoral calendar of the globe.

A Post Nation-State World.

We are aiming to create an organization capable of reaching impact at a global scale and tapping into Silicon Valley-like growth variables. For that purpose we’ll be expanding our organization so we can explore profitable avenues that can help sustain our research and development. We want to deeply thank everyone that has been accompanying our mission and hope we can keep exchanging ideas in order to create a democracy that can connect humanity and help it solve the planetary challenges we face.

In a context where genuine fears of cyberwar & increasing distrust for established media keeps making headlines, we believe that the internet can provide the means for the voices of the many not only to be heard, but also ruled by its own will. By maturing the development of blockchains so they can be fit for governance, organizing and democratic decision-making at all scales, that power can be untapped.

After all, democracy is too good to fail.

Thank you for reading. Be well John, we wish you an extraordinary 2017 (or Year 9)!🌎

Santiago Siri
Founder & President

Democracy Earth Foundation
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit in San Francisco, California.
democracy.earth

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