The Digital Scottish Covenant


A guest post by The Digital Scottish Covenant team

The purpose of a Referendum is to formally document a verifiable majority in support of a particular course of action, but it is not the only way to do so – The Digital Scottish Covenant 2019 (“the Covenant”) will deliver the same end result, a verifiable majority of the Scottish People in support of ending the UK Union.

The Digital Scottish Covenant takes its inspiration from the Scottish Covenant of 1949, signed by over two million Scots, expressing the right to determine their own future. That right was recognised in the Court of Session in 1953 and again, recently, in 2018 by parliamentary vote in the House of Commons. Furthermore, it has been accepted by every UK government.

Until recently, that is.

The advent of the Scotland Act has created a situation of confusion over the Scottish people’s right to self-determination. UK governments have taken it upon themselves to decide if we should be allowed to exercise a right which has existed for over three hundred years in UK law and exists by UN charter in international law. We have to take that right back and we have to do it now.

This is the sole purpose of the Digital Scottish Covenant. The blockchain platform we have created exists for the purpose of registering everyone’s right to have a say in Scotland’s future and to do it securely and in as tamper-proof way as possible.

How do we do that? Well, the straight answer is: you do. Every signatory to the Covenant becomes a member of the People’s Digital Assembly and it is that Assembly which will decide the agenda. The core team at the heart of the Covenant are not politically motivated in any way, they are fellow Activists who have dedicated their time and effort to build this facility for the movement – they will not be telling you how to vote on any issue nor will they be giving you the issues to vote on. As signatories, you will decide what you want to happen.

Of course, the core team do have a role to play. Primarily it is to protect the integrity of the platform. This is most important because the Core Team may need to offer incontrovertible proof to the international community that what comes out of the Covenant ultimately is the verified will of the Scottish people. In this respect, it is necessary for each and every signatory to prove that they are who they say they are and that they are domiciled in Scotland.

We have seen a number of wild accusations on social media to the effect that the core team are part of some shadowy organisation out to do the movement harm, or that the information supplied by signatories is just lying there ready for anyone to abstract and use for their own purposes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Once a signature is registered, the information supplied is used in the verification process at the end of which a unique blockchain ID is issued. All other information, being of no further use to us, is destroyed once it is no longer required for Verification purposes. No database is kept, no opportunity exists to hack, download or sell your information to or on behalf of third parties and no reason exists for any of the core team here to keep information in an accessible form. All that remains is your ID which in itself is proof of your existence.

Personally, I think we have left it very late to exercise our right to determine the future of our country and the core team behind the Digital Covenant and Assembly believe that big changes have to happen before the end of this year or we may all find ourselves dragged down into the sewer along with the rest of the failing state that is the United Kingdom. The Covenant is here to give form to this most urgent necessity of making our own decisions before it is too late. It is here for every citizen of Scotland and I urge you all to use it, for the future of your country.

As the Covenant gathers support, we will provide a facility for those who have signed the Covenant to take their Seat as a Member of The People’s Assembly (“the Assembly”) using their Transaction ID from the Blockchain to verify they have Signed the Covenant – the Admin Team will provide regular progress updates to the Assembly and members can use that Platform to co-ordinate activities to push the Covenant forward. We will also launch and facilitate other pieces of work on how Scotland will withdraw from the UK Union, and The People of Scotland can work on these Transition Plans together, as one, through the Assembly.

As the Covenant begins to head towards majority support from the Scottish electorate, we will provide a facility for Assembly members to register as candidates for The People’s Commission (“the Commission”) and campaign for votes from the Assembly to represent the people of Scotland after completion and submission of the Covenant. The structure of the Commission is still being worked on, but the 1951 Covenant started with 1200 ordinary people and we are aiming to finish the 2019 Covenant with the same number, ensuring that every single constituency and region across the whole of Scotland is represented.

This year, 2020, is shaping up to be a very eventful year now that the most right-wing version of the Tories imaginable are back in power at Westminster, and Scotland could conceivably find itself facing a cliff-edge hard Brexit.

It is critical that Scotland leaves the UK Union as early as is practicably possible, therefore we urge you to please spread word of this Engagement to every corner of the Land, impress upon your fellow Scots that We CAN do this, We MUST do this, We SHALL do this, for Scotland!

Signing this Covenant will, for the vast majority of eligible individuals, involve three simple steps – input some details on a secure form, upload the required documentation and submit your “Digital Signature” for Verification.

Once a Digital Signature has been received, the Covenant Admin Team will complete three simple checks – Age, Residence and Double Signature – and then commit your (anonymised) Digital Signature to the Blockchain. All individuals resident in Scotland and born on or before 5th May 2005 (thus making them of voting age at the next scheduled Scottish General Election on 6th May 2021) will be eligible to affirm their Signature to this Covenant. All data, including document uploads, are transmitted via a Secure HTTPS Protocol Connection on our Domain DigitalCovenant.Scot. All data and documents submitted will be used for Verification of Eligibility to Sign the Covenant ONLY, then taken OFFLINE by the Contracted company in preparation for Handover.

You can learn more about the Digital Covenant here

You can add your name to the Digital Covenant here

58 thoughts on “The Digital Scottish Covenant

  1. Would I be allowed to sign it.I have been a resident of Finland for over 20 years. My only passport is from the UK. I am annoyed still that I did not have a vote for neither the Scottish independence referendum, nor the Brexit one. I get attacked for saying I have no right to have a say in all of this. Please let me know if there is a way to resolve this issue.

    • I’m in the same situation living in England, though I will move to Scotland when it stops having to subsidise down here. I think the current choice of only for the people domiciled in Scotland is best and have always found it wrong that folk are able to vote in General Elections upto 12 yrs (?) after leaving the UK.
      Understand your frustration

    • The facility has been put in place for non-resident supporters to add their signatures. I’m afraid they will not count for the purposes of the Covenant itself. This will still apply only to those resident in Scotland but you can at least show your support for the cause. From the Core Team

  2. I am been asked to supply proof of identity, personal information, to an unknown third party. That third party says:

    ‘We may share Your personal information with Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Service, to Verify Your Eligibility to Sign The Scottish Covenant 2019, to contact You, and to manage Your requests to Us. With Scottish Government Officials: We may share Your information with Scottish Government Officials, in which case we will require those Officials to honor this Privacy Policy.

    Your information, including Personal Data, is processed at the Company’s operating offices and in any other places where the parties involved in the processing are located. It means that this information may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of Your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from Your jurisdiction.’

    Perhaps the third party should not blindly cut and paste some other party’s privacy policy. I do So love Random capitalization. Or is that capitalisation?

    I am not against the concept. I would not have considered signing the covenant if I was. But, as ‘There is currently an issue uploading documents using some Browsers on some Android phones’ (which browsers work then?), I won’t.

    Come the revolution, an independent Scotland may well consider doing an Estonia and start issuing digital identities with which its citizens could sign covenants.

    Rant over.

    • The Random capitalisation may not be so random after all. Words are capitalised when referring to something specific further up the privacy document. It was a fun rant though.

      • Part of my job as professional translator involves translating many of these documents from English into Welsh.

        Third Party clauses are often mass produced and copied from US English templates, and the above is no exception. The giveaways are such things as:

        – analyze (with a ‘z’ as opposed to an ‘s’)
        – computers located outside of (no need for ‘of’ in British English)
        – state, province, country (state = USA/Australia, province = Canada. No mention of ‘county’ which means something else in North America, anyway)
        – differ than (British English prefers ‘differ from’)

        The capitalisation [sic.] is not as random as you might think. There will be somewhere a definition section where items such as ‘You’, ‘Your’, ‘Personal Data’ will be defined as how that 3rd Party wishes to define them. For example, ‘You’ means ‘You, the person signing this Covenant and ‘Your’ and ‘Yours’ are to be defined accordingly’. (Similarly, ‘We’ and ‘Us’ are defined as ‘Us receiving your signature’.)

        I would be very wary of signing away your information which:

        ‘… [M]ay be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of Your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from Your jurisdiction.’

        This means you would have no recourse to GDPR protection nor existing rights under the Data Protection Act (which GDPR reinforces) or the equivalent legislation in Scotland. (My first degree is in English Law and not Scots Law, so I invite Scottish colleagues to provide the more relevant legislation in your jurisdiction (i.e. Scotland).

        None of this is to indicate that the Digital Scottish Covenant nor any Third Party have done anything which is not legit. I only want to draw peoples’ attention to certain matters involved in it and the implications of signing it.

        I am grateful to bedelsten for his/her rant and drawing my attention to the matter in the first place. (I am also doubly disqualified from signing the document in the first place in any case being a Welsh exile living in England.)

        – WS is an (English) lawyer by training but a linguist by profession.

        • A bit of a bugbear of mine is that many documents – in particular, Council or other public bodies use US English because they either don’t know how, or can’t be bothered to change the settings on their Microsoft software.

  3. Hello there. Excuse me for taking a contradictory approach but surely to say “We have to take that right back and we have to do it now.” accepts that the UK government had the authority to take the right of self-determination away? I am not against some sort of digital covenant per se, but we must not fall into the trap of accepting UK government authority in this area – in any way. It seems to me that this is another manifestation of frustration at the lack of movement towards independence and much of that stems from the present approach taken by the SNP leadership over the Section 30 order. The section 30 debacle is easily solved by ignoring it. The SNP only has to become a more aggressive political group in order to push the independence agenda forward.

    All of us who want independence feel this frustration from time to time. We see it manifest in the desire of others to create new independence parties, and in those within the SNP who wish for the adoption of some kind of plan B, and the whole thing becomes distorted into an emotional morass that becomes conflated around the distraction of the GRA, the Salmond trial, it’s aftermath, gradualists, fundamentalists cabals, whatever.

    Independence as an aim needs to be simplified: create the terms and when those terms are met you take it. If the SNP or any other party stands in an election with a clear policy over anything and is elected then it only has to act on it. Indeed, it must act on it – no matter the consequences.

    • I agree with your statement about taking that right back. The reason I included it is precisely because the issue has become entangled with this Section 30 nonsense.

      For example, on 19th April 2019, Mike Russell published an article in the National in which he stated quite specifically that holding a referendum with Westminster’s permission was “the only legal way”. Many on social media and elsewhere have taken that, together with the two S30 requests so far as meaning that we have no option but to follow the terms of the Scotland Act.

      By signing the Covenant, we can demonstrate that we have the inalienable right to make our decisions with or without Westminster’s compliance – or indeed with or without the Scottish government’s compliance.

  4. I didn’t read through the whole signing process because in the intro it says you have to upload image files, meaning images of utility bills etc. How am I supposed to do that? I don’t have or want a smartphone that I could take transferable pics with, and don’t have a digicam or scanner either so I just forget about signing it?

    • As part of the roll-out process, we had planned face to face meetings with all the independence groups across Scotland. We have a team of over sixty volunteers ready for this task. Sadly, events have prevented this from happening but new initiatives are being discussed. In time, they will be announced but we are fully aware that some people may be in your position. In fact, some may have no internet access at all, we are planning to ensure that everybody can sign, no matter what their circumstances.

  5. Not entirely completely comfortable with the security aspect of the documents to confirm identity being requested , I don’t seem to remember this degree of documentation being required when I vote or apply for a postal vote and that’s from an official government website .
    While at first it seems to be a reasonably good idea I am not convinced about the security and if breached your whole identity could be compromised , this at a time when most of us rely on our bank card to actually exist and function , well another third party being allowed access to personal details ain’t worth the risk .

    • Couldn’t agree more, Robert graham – think of the Talktalk debacle when Baroness Dido of Track and Trace (England only) was at the helm and many other examples of the leaking of personal information over the years.

      Neither is anything of this nature completely waterproof and indeed, are often considered a ‘challenge’ by hackers in order to ascertain your information. (And to repeat myself from above, once that information is compromised, you may well not have recourse to English/Scots/UK Law as the breach may have occurred ‘outside Your jurisdiction’ where the data protection laws are much weaker than ‘over here.’

      And most definitely – don’t share personal banking details on-line. That’s a veritable gold mine for those who would use them for unscrupulous ends.

  6. Collecting and/or processing personal information? check out the GDPR.

    While this page mentions GDPR – it doesn;t give a registration number, not any means of contact, and the email address in Switzerland isn’t very encouraging.

    There’s no address for contact, nor registration. Nominet has the anonymity for the which you’re redirected to, which isn’t a problem bus there are NO names or addresses of the organisation, it could be on planet Mars for all anyone could tell.

    Good luck, but not a snowflake’s chance in hell I’d risk identity theft or spam mountains at this stage. This is a work in progress, needs to become legally authentic. Also needs a considerable amount of recognisable endorsement.

    As I say, good luck, good idea, in its infancy stages at the moment.

    • Sorry, forgot the URL doesn’t get printed but the thing gets embeddded. Remove spaces

      sign. digitalcovenant. scot/ pdf/ Privacy_Policy. pdf

      Looks like that comes from some other website by the way.

      • The email address in Switzerland isn’t very encouraging.


        I refer M’Learned Friend to this section:

        ‘ … [Y]our information which may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of Your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from Your jurisdiction.’ [M]ay be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of Your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from Your jurisdiction.’

        – Switzerland is not even in the European Economic Area – never mind being governed by the EU’s GDPR.

        • Sorry, I typed that twice. This is how the posting should read:


          The email address in Switzerland isn’t very encouraging.


          I refer M’Learned Friend to this section:

          ‘ … [Y]our information which may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of Your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from Your jurisdiction.’

          • FINAL VERSION:


            The email address in Switzerland isn’t very encouraging.


            I refer M’Learned Friend to this section:

            ‘ … [Y]our information which may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of Your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from Your jurisdiction.


            – Switzerland is not even in the European Economic Area – never mind being governed by the EU’s GDPR.

          • Indeed, and the dot scot domain appears to have the (again anonymous) registrant as “DE” – Germany, province “BW” as in Baden-Württemberg (bordering France and Switzerland).


  7. I have a number of elderly relatives who can’t / don’t use computers. Don’t even have a computer. I’d imagine that many elderly people who support independence are in a similar position. Will they be excluded from doing this or can they get help from someone else via using their computer?

    Just asking however I will still have to check the ins and outs of it for myself. I would also be interested to know how signatures were gathered in relation to the 1949 Scottish Covenant.

    And thanks to the Digital Scottish Covenant team for your work in trying to get this up and running for us.

    • “The Blockchain Cowboy
      Watch out for embedded Unionists in the comments section!
      Face with tears of joy

      The Digital Scottish Covenant … 6:26 pm · 3 Jun 2020”

      Oh dear.

    • You know Blockchain Cowboy, perhaps if you responded seriously to people then this project might enjoy more success than it’s going to get if you dismiss valid criticisms and concerns as coming from “embedded unionists”.

      If you want other people to trust you with their personal information, then perhaps you need to be a lot more upfront about who you are yourself.

      Just a wee suggestion there.

      • And maybe get Business for Scotland to help out – GMK perhaps, He could get people to help sort out the GDPR problem, and give it authenticity. Many of us do know GMK, one way or the other, and he’s been around in webby stuff since the first tuesday of last century. He’s sound as a pound. Horizon State was a bit of an unfortunate start for this project …

      • Hello wee ginger dug, I am indeed completely upfront, always have been. 80,000 tweets and 100 articles, video clips, an entire TV channel at one point via TrulyScottishTV, all delivered over the last 5 years, on the ultra niche subject of the interface between distributed ledger technology aka blockchain, and democracy. Mixed in with global blockchain for social good.

        Plus, delivering and fully participating on 500 miles Blockchain walk:

        Plus, multiple blockchain trial polls delivered for Scotland, each with flawless end results.

        Plus, I publish The Blockchain Democracy daily digital newspaper!

        Underlined, YesDayScotland progress has revolved around community contemplation.

        For those who may wish to research further in relation to Covenant in particular, here’s the first main article:
        And the entire archive is via:

        Just to highlight re Covenant, my input has been in terms of advising on project infrastructure and architecture, in terms of using Ethereum blockchain. Sounds boring I know, but it’s what it can do that’s interesting, certainly the best 21st century way of collating irrefutable signatures.

        I have no access whatsoever to any physical part of the system, and for those querying re data, this is all via Signatures Verifications Team, via site admin.

        Thus far, the project is 100% secured, and data systems are delivering at flawless. Can fully understand why anyone would have queries re data, but bear in mind, the overview at this point, is first-in-world. All data systems are proven to be working as planned, so what’s not to roll with?

        And for those suggesting there should be some form of official registration with UK authorities, well that’s missing the point. That’s the citizen equivalent of asking Westminster, cap in hand, for a Section 30.

        I see in this article comments there are those calling for the use of paper and pencils? Yes, that’s already been tried by multiple organisations. I am not aware of any organisation with more than 35,000 paper signatures, and for those – they cannot be logically validated and verified.

        I stand by my comment re embedded Unionists. I am of the personal opinion that there are many embedded Unionists within YES. I am also of the opinion that Scotland’s YES contains many who actually, aren’t that bothered about Scotland’s independence. These aspects are however detached from the subject of Blockchain Democracy.

        As a final point, I’d like to highlight the main thing I’ve see re Covenant infrastructure. From all I have seen, and bearing in mind every single part has been created by voluntary community networks, those deployed working on it are as organised as I have ever seen with any project I have ever worked on. From an investigative reporting perspective, I see no reason whatsoever from any technical perspective, as to why the Covenant cannot define and deliver the independence majority. BUT, it’s obviously the people that need to do it?
        Are the citizens capable of that?
        Every community we met on the 500 miles walk said, ‘If we are enabled with the capability in our community, we won’t stop until it’s done’. So go ahead now, and do it!

        All best wishes, Nicholas

        PS As Dr Mark McNaught is going to be interviewed re Covenant, I’ve amended the twitter feed back to YesDayScotland original. All best wishes for your discussions …

    • Petra,
      The original of the 1949 Covenant is held in the Scottish Records Office and the sheets with all the signatures are in the National Library of Scotland.

      Interesting that the Labour Gov at that time dismissed it and the idea of Home Rule for Scotland almost out of hand while the Tories seemed to be making supportive noises

  8. To me it seems strange that whoever is behind this venture is trying to remain anonymous by, among things, not having named contact details and hiding the domain name information. It is strange that having paid for two domains, dot co dot uk and dot scot ones, it is a swiss protonmail e-mail address that is quoted since it usually costs nothing to redirect e-mails from a holding domain to a real e-mail address. Despite all the hype of an immutable public block-chain technology, I hope someone has the password to the Etherium account safely written down on a post-it stuck to a PC monitor somewhere. It would not be the first time data in a secure distributed database became extremely secure by losing the password.

  9. Hmmm ….

    Further digging with regard to the above makes reference to ‘Blockchain Democracy’.

    I leave you this piece from the Guardian (no friend of Scottish indy) and let you decide. (Old article, but probably the key points are still valid.)

    Blockchain isn’t about democracy and decentralisation – it’s about greed
    Mon 15 Oct 2018 11.20 BST

  10. I’m old fashioned I like to sign a new covenant on a paper form using an old fashioned biro or even a Parker pen.

  11. A wee feature previously on Bella from a ‘Nicholas Russell’: (Again, over 2 years ago)

    Scotland’s Blockchain Democracy?
    10th May 2018

    And more …

    October 6, 2019

    The author of this is the self-same ‘Nicholas Russell’, I guess …

    (The more I read, the more my antennae are twitching. I don’t know about you.)

    Be safe out there, friends!

        • Well, there is a photo out there of him and a helper. Forget where now!

          The idea is OK, and I’d like to see electronic voting, perhaps as an option. I do tax, VAT and company house online, and they were able to verify who I am way back when the HMRC gave grants to go online – without having to send off my birth certificate!

          Early days of a hopefully good idea, but I think the blockchaining would have to be resident and secure in Scotland, same as the voter!

          • Aye well, the guy’s been going since October 2015 according to the blog. If you think of MMT it had / has S……D.. on Wings posting occasionally about it, good dilplomatm patient. Whereas there was another MMT advocate got booed off Wings because he was too long-winded and didn’t take to criticism.

            But SD got a lot of converts to MMT, including me. I find it hard to even think neolib… nelo … that thing these days, and the Growth Commission would make me boak from a desirability point of view, even though it kept the neolibs happy and got Independence a boost amongst the financiers.

            Ho hum.

  12. I hope I wasn’t bursting someone’s well intentioned balloon when I was questioning the request of very personal information in order to complete this covenant , it’s a case of if you want my information I also in return want yours , it’s pretty straightforward , until then I will of course sign up but the personal information is just that personal .

  13. O/T

    I’ve just been watching the ”Black lives Matter” protest in London with thousands of predominantly black and Asian people marching along / congregating with no thought at all being given to social distancing. Further marches are planned for London, Manchester, Birmingham and elsewhere across the UK.

    Taking into account that the Office for National Statistics has outlined that black people are nearly twice as likely to die of the coronavirus, than their white counterparts, this makes no sense. Crazy in fact, totally ironic and contradictory that as they put themselves and others (relatives, friends, NHS / carer staff) at risk of dying they shout ”black lives matter.”

    Between one thing and another (e.g. the Cummings Effect) it looks as though the CV19 death rate will be going right (further) through the roof in England now. Add to that the potential for violence and rioting with a shortage of Police thanks to Big T. You have to feel heart sorry for the ordinary people of England and utterly thankful that we Scots have got a get out of jail free card. Let’s use it ASAP.

    • There was a protest in Edinburgh, about 50 people all self-distancing, “take a knee for George Floyd”. Seems reasonable enough, though presumably against the guidelines. Police were present. Seems to me, well, protest does need to be allowed or Scotland becomes a fascist state.

      Not an easy one. A lot of grey areas, safety v freedom of speech / protest.

  14. I am one of four members of the core team who has produced this. I will be speaking to WGD for his weekly dugcast. I have read through the comments, and will seek to give much greater clarity to the project and address the concerns raised.

  15. What about giving the SC team the opportunity to respond to some of the questions before we quash this altogether?

  16. Hamish100, We are with you, sign on paper with ink. counted and delivered by well established long running independence supporters, less chance of things going awry when done the old fashioned way, to FM hands by arrangement.
    Everyone’s own photo copies can always be made if you wish,
    What is wrong with doing organising this, instead of going digital where any hack can get your info, why complicate?

    • The point of the digital covenant is to overcome the objection to the 1949 covenant which was basically,
      “How do we know these signatures are genuine?”

      Any paper-based petition or covenant is going to run in to the same issue.

      This is the reason who those wishing to sign the digital covenant have to provide proof of identity and address.

      As far as I am aware a block chain ledger, which in this case contains affirmations, is secure from tampering, and there are multiple copies of the ledger, but there may be genuine concerns about why the organisers are apparently so secretive, and can we be sure that the documents required to prove identity and address, are destroyed after use.
      However, these documents don’t contain much more information than what is already publicly available with the exception of a signatory’s date of birth.

  17. Last one on this thread… hopefully.
    “From 2015 onwards, as a hobby which became more than a hobby, Nicholas has voluntarily overseen the YesDayScotland media portal, becoming Scotland’s groundbreaking, pioneering features writer on this ultra niche subject, on the interface between blockchain’s #dlt distributed ledger technology, and democracy. Having also hosted Scotland’s inaugural Blockchain summit in March 2018, Balbirnie House is Scotland’s birthplace for blockchain democracy.”
    Contact Nicholas Russell
    Tel: 01592 610066
    This is our first ever guest writer article. Via Iain McGlade, 2018 founder of the Scottish Digital Covenant twitter feed @ScotCovenant

    Iain McGlade = KiltedSplendour



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