How to Hold Politicians and the City Accountable with the Involuntary Blockchain

The involuntary blockchain anti-pattern was first realized while researching real-world smart city solutions with fellow African-American tech talent using blockchain technology.

The original goal was to mark all of the city assets with a QR identifier or create geo-fenced zones that would list all of the identified municipal assets. What a good citizen would do if they saw a pothole or a broken streetlight is scan the QR code of the asset and report the issue on a blockchain distributed ledger to everyone with a vested interest in the community.

One of the challenges we considered is what if the city or the local politician do not want to participate in this “blockchain” thing as a smart city solution?

One of the problems we have in the African-American community is our politicians not willing to serve our community, the city not in a hurry to fix anything in our hoods and the local news media not caring to report about municipal structure problems in black communities.

Then we realize something about the blockchain — we don’t have to negotiate anything with the politicians or the city — they answer to the people. The blockchain can create a consensus of the people to assert an issue through a distributed ledger with a time-stamp. Once the issue has been time-stamped on a distributed ledger, then the community has spoken.

When you hear of the blockchain, the technology pattern is usually described as parties engaged in a consensus of trust. But the blockchain can serve as a powerful equalizer by creating a consensus of the little guy to take on the big guy with an immutable record that cannot be alter or denied. The involuntary blockchain anti-pattern works by creating an involuntary ID for the politician, an involuntary ID for the city and the involuntary ID for the media to the blockchain and force them to be notified of any records added to the blockchain ledger with the time-stamp.

The notification event will come from bot that observe the blockchain and can auto-post a complaint to a web form, write an e-mail or even mail a physical letter representing the blockchain consensus. In addition, the bot can even auto-post the notification to Twitter or Facebook of the politician or media or city social media channel.

As a result, the involuntary blockchain anti-pattern forces the hands of the powers that be to answer to the people or be exposed on a distributed ledger they are not serving the people. So, for example, let’s say someone reported on the blockchain an incident where juveniles are spray-painting the sidewalk on the street corner:

The Community is notified via the distributed ledger that a new incident was reported in their community and now the community is aware of the issue and view the time-stamp.

The City is notified of the incident and the time-stamp recorded by a bot and the clock begin ticking to see the response time for the city to come sandblast the graffiti. If the city chooses to respond promptly, the city can write to the involuntary blockchain using their involuntary ID that the issue was resolve, notifying the community. If the city does not respond, the community has a distributed ledger they have as their record.

The Politician is notified of the incident and the time-stamp recorded by a bot and the clock begin ticking to see if the politician will acknowledge the issue and respond. The politician can also use their involuntary ID to write to the blockchain acknowledgement of the issue and action taken such as contact the city. The politician writing to the blockchain can also trigger a bot to notify the city that the politician is acknowledging the issue as well, forcing the hand. Now, if the politician refuse to take action, the time-stamp and distributed ledger can be compiled into a “performance report” during the re-election season for voters of the community to determine if that politician still deserve another term in office. If the politician responded in a timely manner, then that is good. If the politician did not respond in a timely manner or ignored issues reported by the community, the consensus-based distributed ledger will speak louder than any campaign promise.

So, as you see, an involuntary blockchain anti-pattern holds the powerful accountable without their permission where the powerful can no longer ignore the little guy or the city asset problems. The blockchain anti-pattern can complement a smart city blockchain with a “smart civic” blockchain solution to force politicians and the city to become engaged at addressing local issues.

If we want to take it a step further, an involuntary blockchain can be used by the little guy to report issues on a distributed ledger about bias media reporting, a large faceless corporation creating shoddy products or cable TV internet service has slowed to a crawl where a bot can notify these entities directly that the consensus has spoken and they better pay attention.

As you see, the involuntary blockchain anti-pattern may yield more results through force of hand than the basic consensus blockchain model being floated around.

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