Augmented Democracy Award

The paper Proof of Witness Presence: Blockchain Consensus for Augmented Democracy in Smart Cities has been distinguished in the individual’s category of the Augmented Democracy competition run by Prof. Cesar Hidalgo.


This work introduces a new way of participation & collective decision-making that promises citizens who actively engage in more informed decision-making integrated in public urban space.

Inspired by a digital revive of the Ancient Agora of Athens, an arena of public discourse, a Polis where citizens assemble to actively deliberate & collectively decide about public matters. At the core lies the concept of proving witness presence that makes decision-making subject of providing evidence & testifying for choices made in the physical space.

It is shown how proofs of witnessed presence can be made using blockchain consensus, how complex crowd-sensing decision-making processes can be designed with the Smart Agora platform & how real-time collective measurements can be made decentralized & privacy-preserving. The paramount role of dynamic consensus, self-governance & ethically aligned artificial intelligence is underlined.

1st Prize at ETH Policy Challenge

The Empower Polis team of Evangelos Pournaras, Atif Ghulamnabi, Mark Ballandies and Michael Noack has been elected the 1st team at the ETH Policy Challenge competition.

Empower Polis envisions the reinvention of a new cyber-physical agora that allows policy-​makers to interact with citizens and pose questions or voting campaigns to their smart phones and perform a socially responsible data collection.

Citizens can witness public happenings in an augmented and gamified way that allows them to provide real-time, privacy-​preserving and well-​informed feedback back to policy-​makers.


Policy Challenge Certificate