Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Bitcoin Assassination Market Is Terrible. But What About This?

Ever since I read about the grotesque idea of a bitcoin assassination market, I haven't stopped thinking about its underlying mechanism, which itself isn't evil. The idea of anonymously crowdfunding an account that pays out under a specific circumstance, and only with blockchain unanimity is provocative, and might have some interesting applications.

Take political campaign contributions. The existence of widespread quid pro quo agreements between interest groups and lawmakers hasn't really been documented, but merely the appearance of corruption and dependency erodes trust in government and is corrosive to our democracy.

Most of the best solutions to the money-in-politics problem revolve around regulatory fixes (spending limits, increased transparency, decreased transparency etc.), but bitcoin 2.0 technology offers a potential band-aid that could marginally improve the incentives for certain politicians or policy issues.

It would not be difficult to imagine a bitcoin donations market whereby the first politician to come out publicly for some specific position would get paid. Or perhaps everyone on a committee voting a certain way on a bill would collect. State and local executives would be even more ideally placed to have their incentive structure modified by such a 'prize-for-action' scheme (their action-outcome link is tighter, and have less access to campaign funds than national figures). In many ways this conditional contribution approach is just a variation of the Kickstarter thing, but the specific mechanism of the blockchain makes it much more exciting.

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