Inspiration

We were inspired by the instability and corruption of many developing governments and wanted to provide more transparency for citizens. The immutability and decentralization of IPFS seemed like the perfect tool for this problem. We further developed this idea into a framework for conducting government activities and passing laws in a secure manner through ethereum smart contracts

What it does

Lex Aeterna provides a service for governments to publish laws and store them on IPFS increasing security and transparency for citizens. We offer a website for viewing these laws and interfacing with our service but anyone can view these laws by looking at them directly on IPFS. We also offer increased security through the use of filecoin nodes to further decentralize the storage of laws and ensure that all laws and documents will always stay up. We also offer smart contracts which can be used to vote on proposed laws through ethereum transactions. Our website offers a UI for this functionality which includes secure account login through firebase.

How we built it

We used the ipfs-http-client in python to upload and download files on IPFS. We set up a firebase database to store countries and associated laws with CIDs and other parameters. We then used flask to create a rest API to connect our database, our front end and IPFS. We coded our front end using react. We coded our voting smart contract using solidity and deployed it to a test net using web3 on python. We then expanded our API so that governments could deploy and use voting smart contracts all through our API. We use firebase tokens to authenticate the use of API functionality.

Challenges we ran into

With such an ambitious project, we had to cover a lot of ground. Connecting the front end to our API was especially difficult because we didn't have much experience with react. It was difficult to learn on the fly and develop our front end as we went.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Although we were very ambitious, we were able to pretty much implement all major functionality that we wanted to. We implemented an entire web application through the entire stack which uses IPFS and blockchain technology. Most of all we pushed through and continued to work even when we felt stuck.

What we learned

None us had used flask or react before however, we all became proficient enough to implement and API using flask and a front end using react. We also learned more about what it takes to plan and execute an original idea extremely quickly.

What's next for Lex Aeterna

First we would move to AWS to increase scalability and security. We would spend some time testing the security of our API and log in features. We would also want to expand our smart contracts to further provide more options for governments to utilize the ethereum infrastructure. For example, different types of votes such as super majority or government terms that expire after a period of time and even direct citizen votes for government officials or policies.

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