A new Australian political party is using the virtual currency bitcoin as a model to replace what they say is an outdated political system – representative democracy – with a streamlined new polity for the information age. The Flux Party says its goal is to elect six senators. They will propose no policies and will not follow their consciences, but will support or block legislation at the direction of their members, who can swap or trade their votes on every bill online. “If they didn’t have to be senators, if they could just be software or robots they would be, because their only purpose is to do what the people want them to do,” Flux Party co-founder Max Kaye told Reuters in an interview. Australia is set to hold an election in September or October after a period of turmoil that brought five prime ministers in as many years.
At the same time the upper house, which thanks to the quirks of its electoral system has a history of returning mavericks and fringe party candidates, has been hopelessly deadlocked by a handful of senators, at least one elected on less than 1 percent of the vote.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week raised the possibility of calling an early poll to break the gridlock that has held up the government’s legislative agenda. That type of policy inertia is what bitcoin enthusiasts Kaye and Flux co-founder Nathan Spataro say inspired them to explore alternative systems that better represent the world of 2016.
Bitcoin is a web-based “cryptocurrency” used to move money around quickly and anonymously with no need for a central authority. The technology behind it is called the blockchain – a massive electronic ledger of every transaction that is verified and shared by a global network of computers.