S14 E21: Rafael Cordon on How Bitcoin Saved the Elections in Guatemala with OpenTimeStamps

Bitcoin has recently fixed the presidential elections in Guatemala. How so? Rafael Cordon of Simple Proof is here to explain all about the power of OpenTimeStamps and how they can leverage the Bitcoin blockchain to prove that something really happened. (00:01:12) Rafael Cordon discusses the use of Bitcoin in the Guatemalan elections to prevent fraud and uphold the integrity of digital information. (00:03:39) Rafael explains the OpenTimeStamps protocol created by Peter Todd, which enables anyone to timestamp documents on the Bitcoin blockchain and store a hash using a Merkle tree. (00:08:47) Rafael describes how Simple Proof integrates with the preliminary result transmission system in the Guatemalan elections to timestamp the vote tally sheets on the Bitcoin blockchain, providing a way to verify the authenticity of the documents. (00:12:37) The discussion revolves around how Bitcoin can be used to prove the authenticity of voting information and debunk claims of tampering. (00:14:00) The conversation focuses on the benefits of using timestamping in elections, including cost savings, transparency, and the ability to reorganize elections if needed. (00:15:19) Rafael Cordon and Vlad discuss the potential applications of timestamping beyond elections, such as intellectual property, the justice system, and digital evidence. (00:23:33) Rafael Cordon explains how governments initially resisted adopting Bitcoin and cloud technologies, but later realized the benefits of using them for unalterable information and data storage. (00:24:55) Rafael Cordon suggests that using Bitcoin as a means to safeguard digital information can lead to a broader adoption of Bitcoin as a form of money. (00:26:31) We debate the use of NFTs and open timestamps to prove the authenticity and provenance of digital assets, such as artwork, and the potential for tracking the number of creations by famous artists. (00:35:36) Vlad and Rafael discuss the response from the Bitcoin community after an article was published detailing Bitcoin's role in the elections in Guatemala. (00:37:19) Vlad and Rafael Cordon talk about Carlinho's vision of using Bitcoin to bring together Central American countries under a unified currency. (00:42:39) Rafael describes the Bitcoin community in Guatemala, which includes startups addressing remittance use cases and the Bitcoin Lake experiment in Lake Atitlán. The speakers also express their preference for grassroots adoption over government imposition. (00:47:11) Discussion on the importance of legal interpretation and regulatory clarity for large corporations in adopting new technologies like Bitcoin. (00:48:11) Exploration of how startups have more room to maneuver and take risks due to the absence of specific laws regulating new technologies. (00:49:37) The significance of regulatory clarity in encouraging large corporations to adopt new technologies, with the example of El Salvador's legal recognition of Bitcoin. The Utopian Vision of Online Voting (00:59:10) Vlad Costea describes his initial enthusiasm for online voting and the belief that it would transform a broken representative democracy into a utopian direct democracy. Underutilized Technology and Consultancy Services (01:00:29) The Power of Open Timestamps (01:01:23)

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