Aug 18, 2018

What we're reading: Dreams of democracy on the blockchain

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Democracy.Earth, an organization led by Argentinian activist Santiago Siri, has dreamt up a complex system, codenamed Sovereign, that would use blockchain technology to enable citizens to vote and govern themselves, according to a Wired profile.

If the dream of bitcoin, the token generated by Satoshi Nakamoto’s blockchain, was to free money from central bank control, then the dream of Sovereign is to free politics from central government control.
— Wired's Andrew Leonard

Yes, but: While blockchain technology is appealing because transactions are immutable, there are still several potential problems with using it for voting. Those include risks that voters could be coerced into voting a certain way, devices could be hacked and attackers could vote on their behalf, questions over voting tokens gaining a financial value, concerns over the cost of voting, and the rising challenge of creating transparency in voting while also keeping voters anonymous.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 1,506,936 — Total deaths: 90,057 — Total recoveries: 340,112Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 432,596 — Total deaths: 14,831 — Total recoveries: 24,235Map.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is preparing to launch a second coronavirus task force focused on reviving the U.S. economy.
  4. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  5. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — Another 6.6 million jobless claims were filed last week.
  6. World update: Boris Johnson is moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Your hydroxychloroquine questions answered.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Boris Johnson moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus

Johnson last December. Photo: Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care but is continuing to be monitored at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.

Why it matters: It's a sign of improvement after Johnson spent three nights in intensive care for coronavirus. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab remains in charge of the government.

Go deeperArrow14 mins ago - World

A pause button for debts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Governments have forcibly put much of the U.S. and the global economy on pause in recent weeks, for very good reason. Factories, offices, sporting arenas, restaurants, airports and myriad other institutions have closed down. But one thing hasn't been paused: monthly debt-service obligations.

The big picture: The less movement and activity there is in an economy, the more the coronavirus curve is flattened. But the obligations in bond and loan contracts can't be paused. That's worrying CEOs who fear a wave of business failures if economic activity doesn't pick up next month.