Tokens, Decisions, Policies
Two additional ideas need to be discussed – tokens and the UVI policies.
Tokens are the engine that moves UVI. Tokens are earned and then spent – much like airline miles or loyalty points. Tokens can be earned via actions. Signing up a new member is the most important action because this is what helps UVI spread and grow. The value of members at the early stages is much higher, hence more tokens can be awarded for referrals till a membership threshold (let’s say 10%) is crossed in a constituency. Tokens can also be issued for offline and online activities that contribute to the growth of UVI. All such decisions can be made by UVI members via a new form of voting called quadratic voting.
Here is an explanation of quadratic voting from Shaan Ray:
Quadratic Voting is a method of collective decision-making in which a participant votes not just for or against an issue, but also expresses how strongly they feel about it. It can help protect the interests of small groups of voters that care deeply about particular issues. Quadratic Voting can be used in democratic institutions, in corporate governance, and blockchain-enabled collective decision-making.
In Quadratic Voting, each participant is given a number of credits that can be used to vote for an issue. However, the cost of casting more than one vote for an issue is quadratic, not linear. So, the marginal cost of each additional vote is far higher than of the previous vote.
Here is the Quadratic Voting formula: Cost to the voter = (Number of votes)^2
Imagine that a vote generally costs $1 to put toward an issue, and you have $100 of voting credits. You want to cast your vote toward protecting endangered species. Casting one vote will cost you $1. However, casting two votes for the same issue will cost you $4, casting three votes for the same issue will cost you $9 and casting 10 votes for the same issue will cost you your entire $100 of credits.
So, while you are increasing the chances of victory for your issue with each additional vote, the quadratic nature of the voting ensures that only those who care deeply about issues will cast additional votes for them.
Tokens earned via actions can be used for voting on issues and proposals. (Voting during primaries is not via tokens.) Tokens thus incentivise actions by members – much like mining is rewarded by coins in the crypto world. Also, the quadratic nature of voting ensures there is no outsized influence exercised by a single person or small group.
This brings us to the UVI policies and day-to-day decisions. This can be done in the form of proposals that are submitted by members, and voting via tokens. The policies themselves can be put up for vote by the community – except for those in the core “UVI Constitution.” This mirrors the decision-making process of governance also – elected UVI candidates would make their own decisions in accordance with the wishes of their constituents. Remember, they are the people’s “representatives.”
It may seem chaotic, but I believe this process with its simple rules will work well. And for a system to work, it is better to have a few simple rules that everyone understands (and which are hard to change) rather than complex rules that are easily editable. [Think of the American Constitution as compared to the Indian Constitution.]
Implemented thus, UVI can create a new paradigm in Indian politics – a government of, for and by the people (rather than the politicians and their parties.)