Different societies, regardless of political or economical system, face common issues such as increasing income inequality, political corruption, and monopolization of industries largely for the benefit of wealthy elites. These issues have prompted feelings of frustration and ideas of correction from the commons who suffer most from these zero-sum games. The response consists of backlash and abandonment of the technologies that brought up the problems, but this would cause further issues with much of what is essential for modern society to function while worsening the original problems that sparked this response. Many brilliant minds have been working collectively on alternatives of governance to mitigate the chances of a political or financial elite from attaining too much influence on a particular system by adapting markets and technology to fundamentally decentralize power from the centralized authorities.
In a traditional one person-one vote system, minorities’ voices are shrouded by the masses, which is why a more modernized and truly democratic system is needed in order to protect the interests of all groups from an oligarchy. Most of those in the cryptocurrency and blockchain community have unified philosophical ideals and a surprising acceptance to change, which makes it an exemplary place to try new ideas.
There are many different attempts at fixing the ongoing problems of governance and consensus in blockchain systems, such as Proof of Work (POW), Proof of Stake (POS), and Proof of Authority (POA). Each has its own flaws: POW takes up too much real world resources, POS brings the power into the hands of a few, and POA may obscure the real dedication a certain node has to the network. However, a new idea introduced called Quadratic Voting (QV) could bring a more equal conglomerate of voices to a social blockchain and alleviate the problems with governance.
More specifically, QV could result in innovation curtailing the ongoing governance problems in blockchain-based systems. Many different cryptocurrencies have already adopted voting systems to gain a consensus of the community regarding significant protocol changes, but they are still susceptible to malicious actors such as fake accounts and stake imbalance. With QV, community participants with varying opinions and stakes are accounted for since the cost of voting is nonlinear. By scaling the cost of voting proportional to N^2, N for the number of votes cast, those who feel very strongly about a certain viewpoint would have to stake much more tokens for each successive vote. For example, one vote would cost one token, but two votes would cost four tokens. This method ensures that those with significantly greater amounts of resources could not hold as much influence compared to say, a traditional Proof of Stake system, even if they wanted to.
Having said that, the main obstacle with implementing QV is proving the authenticity of the human identity of a particular voting entity. With constant applications of pseudonymity and anonymity in cryptocurrency networks, the challenge remains in creating a method of identification that can be proven with high enough accuracy without revealing the identity of the user. Similarly to governance, there has been much debate on which proofs would be ideal. For example, STARKS, or zero-knowledge proofs, has shown much promise in dealing with such issues with close to perfect precision and near impossible manipulation.