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🌿 Democracy Earth Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions

Section I: FAQs: The Social Smart Contract

Section II: FAQs: Democracy Earth Token Sale

Section 1: Frequently Asked Questions - The Social Smart Contract

1. What is an open source paper?

2. How can I contribute to the DEF white paper?

3. How is an Intial Rights Offering different from an Initial Coin Offering?

4. What is "liquid democracy"?

5. What is a vote token?

6. How do I get vote tokens?

7. Can I sell or give away my vote tokens?

8. What does a vote token have to do with Universal Basic Income?

9. Will digital elections increase voter participation?

10. Is voter fraud easier when voters vote by mobile phone? How does blockchain technology enables incorruptible decision-making?

11. What does self-sovereign mean?

12. Could everyone in the world use Sovereign to vote on the same issue?

13. Does Sovereign exclude people who have no access to video (for the Proof of Identity protocol)?

14. Isn't Open Source too new to be implementable in elections?

15. What do "planetary jurisdiction" and "post Nation-state" mean?

16. What is the difference between centralized, decentralized and distributed?

17. What is blockchain technology?

18. What is a decentralized ID (DID)?

19. What does "public and private key" refer to?

20. I signed up for an account at Vote.Democracy.Earth and I want to report a problem, a bug, and/or a new feature suggestion - how do I tell the development team about it?

Section II: Frequently Asked Questions - Token Sale

1. When is the Democracy Earth token sale?

2. What is an accredited investor?

3 Why is the pre-sale limited to accredited investors?

4. Why does the pre-sale exclude accredited investors from NY and China?

5. How can I get whitelisted for the Democracy Earth pre-sale?

6. How can non-accredited investors participate?

7. What cryptocurrencies will be accepted?

8. Where can I receive updates?

9. How can I talk to the founders or President?

10. When will I receive my SAFT?

11. How can votes be crypto assets? Doesn’t that empower the rich to have more impact over decision-making processes?

12. Is the VOTE token a security?

13. What will the ICO funds be used for?

Frequently Asked Questions - The Social Smart Contract

1 - What is an open source paper?

To us at Democracy Earth Foundation how a paper is made is almost as important as its content. Our belief in democracy means we believe that human collaboration is the best possible way to arrive at great solutions, therefore our project is written as an open source paper - a document where anyone is free to contribute. It is published under an open source license and we welcome contributions from anyone as we aim for this document to be a living roadmap for planetary governance. Democracy is always a work in progress, and so is our work: The social smart contract is a living document that will be constantly updated and amended.

2 - How can I contribute?

We are utilizing Github as it does a great job at documenting the entire process of contributions. For more detailed information please refer to the CONTRIBUTING file of this repository.

3 - How is an Intial Rights Offering different from an Initial Coin Offering?

Our token Vote will be granted as a right to every human being by means of a Universal Basic Income, and it will have decision making as its primary function. In addition to that it will be possible to access the vote token through a financial mechanism and use it as an asset like any other crypto holding released through an Initial Coin Offering. The funds will be directed towards the construction of a transnational network that will act in accordance to the personal sovereignty of its members and protect their human rights with encryption.

4 - What is "liquid democracy"?

Liquid democracy is a combination of direct democracy and representative democracy.

In direct democracy everyone votes on every issue.

In representative democracy we choose other people to represent us.

Liquid democracy combines both to allow the voter to make decisions on the matters he/she cares about, and delegate votes when there is someone that he/she trusts and considers to be more knowledgeable on the matter. A good way to think about it, is that we already live in liquid democracy, but it's frozen: we can't change our vote for a certain period of time, only when there is a new election. Representative democracy was the best that Nation-states could do with the printing press technology of the time, but the internet and blockchain technologies allow us to do better now, permitting each voter to customize the extent of his participation.

5 - What is a vote token?

A vote token is what users will utilize to cast their decisions in organizations that operate with liquid democracy. It also works as any other crypto asset and its value is connected to the penetration of decentralized decision making within society.

6 - How do I get vote tokens?

Vote tokens can be obtained in five ways:

  1. purchased directly, via token sale, from non-profit Democracy Earth Foundation holdings to fund development and ongoing operations,
  2. mined and granted free-of-charge upon Proof of Identity(*),
  3. mined and dripped free-of-charge over time as Universal Basic Income, subsequent to Proof of Identity,
  4. mined and earned if organization purchases on behalf of organization member, and
  5. purchased, based on its current market value, from cryptocurrency exchange (trading in vote tokens previously purchased from either Foundation or public).

(*)In order to learn more about the process of identity validation, please refer to section 3.3 Proof of Identity .

7 - Can I sell or give away my vote tokens?

Yes - the tokens are tradable and transferable as any other crypto holding. Because they operate within a liquid democracy, votes are meant to be delegated to others. We are actively working on breeding economic value to them and to prevent vote selling would be coercive. Its up to every Organization in the system (not the vote holders) to determine how votes are to be used inside the organization. That's where restrictions apply and if you want to make a 'one vote one person' system, its totally doable.

In addition to that tokens will be distributed by using an Equality variable that stabilizes the allocation for every member of the network to have a same starting line. In that sense we are aiming to make the vote economy as meritocratic as possible (in the real sense of giving a fair starting line for everyone).

8 - What does a vote token have to do with Universal Basic Income?

True sovereignty cannot be achieved in an environment of induced scarcity. In order to effectively promote democracy, it is essential then to address both the political and economic realms. For that reason we are turning governance rights into a liquid instrument and issuing it as a right granted to every member of society through the mechanism of a Universal Basic Income.

9 - Will digital elections increase voter participation?

Low voter turnout is closely linked to the decrease in trust on our current democratic institutions, or the perception that one individual vote can't effectively alter the course of things. Being an incorruptible platform, on Sovereign each individual participation truly matters and is counted for. Our mission is to strengthen democracy by opening up more effective ways of participating, which Sovereign accomplishes. The greatest impact will not necessarily be to make governments more democratic, but any kind and size of institution, whether public or private, more engaged and engaging.

10 - Is voter fraud easier when voters vote by mobile phone? How does blockchain technology enables incorruptible decision-making?

The advances on crypthography and distributed ledger technology enable incorruptible decision-making because after a vote is registered it can never be altered, making virtual blockchain-based votes immensely superior to analogue votes in terms of fraud prevention. Additionally, this technology enables all members of the organization to audit the votes.

11 - What does self-sovereign mean?

Self-sovereign is anything that is fully under control of itself. Central authorities validade, control and sell data related to others identities. A self-sovereign identity is one that cannot be controlled by central authorities.

12 - Could everyone in the world use Sovereign to vote on the same issue?

Yes. Sovereign is intended for planetary governance as much as it is suitable to be used by an organization consisted of two members.

13 - Does Sovereign exclude people who have no access to video (for the Proof of Identity protocol)?

As of this moment we have not encountered an alternative to the Proof of Identity protocol that does not involve central authorities, but we and the digital hive mind will continue exploring options in order to make Sovereign available to all humankind.

14 - Isn't Open Source too new to be implementable in elections?

Open-source systems are already playing a role in some elections, for example, New Hampshire - USA has used open source software to allow disabled voters to fill out ballots online or on their phones. The counties of Travis (Texas), San Francisco and Los Angeles have budgets in place for open-source voting systems. Many major companies use open-source software including the US Department of Defense.

15. What do "planetary jurisdiction" and "post Nation-state" mean?

The blockchain knows no borders, it is a transnational technology. Allowing individuals from all nations to cooperate and make decisions together will create a new jurisdiction that encompasses the entire planet. Territorial divisions and the perpetual conflict between Nation-states have led to accelerated climate change, rising inequality, terrorism and forced migrations. Those are global issues that can only be addressed through a new model, where different parts of the globe cooperate, regarding the planet as one jurisdiction towards which all members are equally responsible and entitled to - we call that post Nation-state governance.

16. What is the difference between centralized, decentralized and distributed?

There is a lot of debate about it. For the purposes of our work we aim towards both architectural and political decentralization (or distribution, depending on who you ask). The first concerns the number of computers running the system, and the second concerns how many individuals or organizations controls those computers. Our solution is designed for blockchain networks, which are by nature not controllable by any single organization and have no single point of failure.

17. What is blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology refers to a database that is held and maintained by a distributed network, therefore being reliable. This database can be programmed to record any type of valuable information within its blocks, and each block is chained to the previous one through cryptographic hashing. The implied security of blockchains dramatically increases trust, allowing peers within the network to operate and transact with each other without the need for intermediators.

18. What is a decentralized ID (DID)?

Decentralized identifiers are intended for a verifiable digital identity that is self-sovereign.

19. What does "public and private key" refer to?

Public and private keys are generated as a cryptographic pair that works together, meaning that a message encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted with it's correspondent private key and vice-versa. This method is utilized to safely transmit messages, create crypto wallets, DIDs, etc.

20 - How do I report a problem, a bug, and/or a new feature suggestion for the web-based Sovereign alpha product at Vote.Democracy.Earth?

You can report it right in the [Vote.Democracy.Earth feed] - here is a place to prioritize/rate the importance of new features, or even add your own suggestions.

Want to report a bug or problem? You can create a post on the Sovereign testnet, a developer will engage with you; or, go to the Democracy Earth repo in github and submit an issue there - this short video will show you the steps.

Frequently Asked Questions - Token Sale

1 - When is the Democracy Earth token sale?

The Democracy Earth token sale is targeted for November 2018. The pre-sale will stay open until the pre-sale cap is reached. The pre-sale is open to global accredited investors only, excluding NY and China. The public token sale will will be open to global purchasers with no accreditation requirement.

2 - What is an accredited investor?

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States, an accredited investor, in the context of a natural person, includes anyone who:

  • earned income that exceeded $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the prior two years, and reasonably expects the same for the current year, OR

  • has a net worth over $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse (excluding the value of the person’s primary residence).

On the income test, the person must satisfy the thresholds for the three years consistently either alone or with a spouse, and cannot, for example, satisfy one year based on individual income and the next two years based on joint income with a spouse. The only exception is if a person is married within this period, in which case the person may satisfy the threshold on the basis of joint income for the years during which the person was married and on the basis of individual income for the other years.

In addition, entities such as banks, partnerships, corporations, nonprofits and trusts may be accredited investors. Of the entities that would be considered accredited investors and depending on your circumstances, the following may be relevant to you:

  • any trust, with total assets in excess of $5 million, not formed to specifically purchase the subject securities, whose purchase is directed by a sophisticated person, or any entity in which all of the equity owners are accredited investors.

In this context, a sophisticated person means the person must have, or the company or private fund offering the securities reasonably believes that this person has, sufficient knowledge and experience in financial and business matters to evaluate the merits and risks of the prospective investment."

You can find more information regarding the definition of an accredited investor here.

3 - Why is the pre-sale limited to accredited investors?

Our pre-sale is a US SEC-regulated, Regulation D, Rule 506(b) security offering. We are offering (at various discounts, based on lockup) the right to tokens that will be available in the Democracy Earth public sale. Under this regulation, only accredited investors, as defined by the SEC, are allowed to participate in the pre-sale. Democracy Earth partners with CoinList for investor accreditation verification for pre-sale participation.

Investors can verify their accreditation status for the Demcoracy Earth pre-sale online at the Democracy Earth CoinList portal..

Once the token is issued, it must be subjected to the“Howey Test” to determine if it is a security or a utility. Tokens deemed securities fall under SEC securities law. The Democracy Earth vote token is a utility token - its utlity is liquid democracy. Therefore, any purchaser, globally, can participate in the Democracy Earth public token sale (scheduled for 4Q 2018), with no accreditation requirement.

4 - Why does the pre-sale exclude accredited investors from NY and China?

In order to comply with SEC regulations only accredited investors may participate in the pre-sale, and only in jurisdictions the SEC does not ban. Click here to see CoinList criteria for accreditation verification. Chinese regulatory authorities prohibit Chinese citizens and companies from participating in ICOs.

5 - How can I get whitelisted for the Democracy Earth public sale?

Register at our website: https://www.ico.democracy.earth/.

6 - How can non-accredited investors participate?

Non-accredited investors can participate in our public token sale.

7 - What cryptocurrencies will be accepted in the Democracy Earth ICO?

For the pre-sale (opened Feb. 1st, closed when 50M token allotment purchased): BTC // BCH // ETH . Wire transfers are also acceptable.

For the public sale: BTC // BCH // ETH // XRP // LTC // XMR // ZEC .

8 - Where can I receive updates?

Updates will be communicated via Telegram

9 - How can I talk to the founders about my questions regarding Democracy Earth and the token sale?

Reach out directly to the co-founders or the DEF Treasurer on the DEF Telegram channel, or request a meeting through hello@democracy.earth. Stay up to date on Democracy Earth Meetups and appearances on the official Democracy Earth Facebook Page.

10 - When will I receive my SAFT (Simple Agreement for Future Tokens)?

A personal link to an executable SAFT (Simple Agreement for Future Tokens) will be sent to you by e-mail upon your registration for purchase and affirmation of accreditation on our website: https://ico.democracy.earth. Notify a DEF admin on Telegram if you do not receive your SAFT. A review copy of the SAFT can be found here.

Purchasers will receive a countersigned SAFT from Democracy Earth only after accreditation verification - you may be contacted by CoinList as part of this process.

11 - How can votes be crypto assets? Doesn’t that empower the rich to have more impact over decision-making processes?

Votes are crypto assets in the same way paper ballots are assets - an instrument of counting votes within a system maintained by the public. Attaching value to a vote is not new: voting has always cost money, at both the individual and the institutional level. From the act of casting a vote to the process of structuring a democracy, voting is a right exercisable only through the administration of a system of services (including design, production, distribution, collection, tabulation, analysis and storage), that must be paid for. These costs are understood by citizens less explicitly than implicitly: historically, with analogue voting systems this payment has been made indirectly through coercive taxation.

The vote token offers an alternative to an historically inequitable connection between money and decision-making. We are granting votes as a right that is distributed through a Universal Basic Income mechanism, and we introduce cryptographically enabled equality through a calculation that ensures all members receive an equal allocation of votes, despite the date in which they join the network. Those mechanisms are aimed at creating an environment in which members are not vulnerable to coercion due to lack of liquidity, induced scarcity and forced debt.

Finally, it is true that under certain organizational configurations one might have more decision-making power than others by owning more votes. Sovereign software is elastic in the sense that it allows for different organizational configurations that can serve a democracy. If the intent is to allow each member to cast one vote per decision, the organization can establish that, in the same way that it can establish a system more similar to our legacy where the richest have more influence. The key difference is that, unlike legacy systems, within Sovereign there are no coercion mechanisms forcing citizens to participate in any specific organization, especially one that they deem unfair. And by distributing a Universal Basic Income of tokens with the Equality mechanism, citizens are not only uncoerced but also have an equitable political and economical starting point - what we see as a fundamental building block for a healthy democracy.

12. Is the vote token a security?

No, the vote token is not a security. The vote token is an asset. What is the difference? To begin with, a security, by definition is an asset, but not all assets are necessarily a security.

  • A security is primarily something from which you expect to receive a financial return in the future, and many cryptocurrencies fall into that category.

  • An asset is different in that it has inherent value due to a clear, intrinsic functionality.

Tokens are assets, yet they can be securities if they represent an ownership in an organization (or meet other defined criteria set by SEC and other reg bodies). The vote token is by definition an asset, with the primary utility of decision-making, or voting (governance). In addition, being a crypto asset, vote tokens contain the inherent benefits of decentralization, transparency and anonymity enabled by blockchain networks.

During the token pre-sale i.e. before the token is issued, Democracy Earth is utlizing an industry standard Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) which IS a security. In order to comply with SEC regulations we can only sell this security to accredited investors, and only in jurisdictions the SEC does not ban (China and New York).

13. What will the ICO funds be used for?

Funds will be used for platform development and to cover day-to-day operational expenses of the Democracy Earth Foundation. We have a small dedicated team focused full-time on building what is envisioned in the whitepaper and outlined in the Democracy Earth short term development roadmap.

14. Why is the vote token a 'utility token'? Why not a 'security token'?

The vote token is a utility token, specifically designed to have the utility of voting and delegating (decision-making); By ‘staking’ a vote token, the owner is utilizing the token to signal their position on a decision/election.

Security tokens provide the investor with an investment vehicle more in line with traditional venture capital investing in for-profit entities. Therefore, security tokens are not appropriate for the Democracy Earth Foundation, a California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Because the utility of the vote token aligns with the Foundation’s charitable cause (of removing corruption from public elections), the sale and transactions of the vote token are expected to be tax-free*, resulting in a better economic operating environment relative to for-profit entities. [*per the Foundation's tax advisors]

15. Where does the Democracy Earth vote token get its value?

The Democracy Earth Foundation vote token value is inextricably tied to the value of time - the value of which will be determined by an open and global market.

The U.S. ‘minimum wage’ is $7.25 per hour, or $0.12 per minute. Because this currently represents the ‘low bar’ for the value of people’s time (already 3 US states have raised the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, and 29 states have a minimum wage greater than $7.25), the Foundation has set this at the initial offering price of the vote token, with discounted pre-sale pricing, depending on lockup choice: $0.10 for no lockup; $0.08 for 6 month lockup; $0.06 for a 12-month lockup. This pricing gives investors a natural return ranging from 20% to 100% when compared to the public price.

While we cannot guarantee an appreciation, our expectations are that the vote token will ‘settle’ in a range reflective of the average trend exceeding the current minimum rate, and then maintain a relatively stable price, giving investors a market-driven store of value and a hedge against downside risk.

Investor FAQ video coming soon.