Blockchain voting is a good thing to aim for when it comes to future elections. After several polling scandals around the world, blockchain voting could mean fairer voting and less raw campaigning.
A Japanese startup has just received a development grant to build a blockchain-based electronic voting system with embedded user ID. Fortunately, that means that Trump-style polling scandals will be a thing of the past.
This week, PHI Inc. in Japan was awarded the ‘Free and Open Grant’ by Concordium Foundation. The grant money will go towards the development of an innovative open electronic voting project. Called GoVote, it will run on the Concordium blockchain.
The PHI team voting system was not initially designed for elections. It is designed to vote through a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). This is in preparation for the Web3 era. GoVote can be used for general shareholders meetings and other communities and online meetings where voting is required. But now, everyone sees the bigger picture – blockchain voting can stop national election voting scandals. And we don’t even have to leave the house to vote.
The world is no stranger to the idea of electronic voting. Voting machines have been around for decades. However, most adventures with these machines led to controversies that sealed their fate.
Embarrassing Adventures in the Voting Machine
As for the voting machine’s most embarrassing adventure, Ireland is set to receive an NFT trophy for its effort in 2002.
The Irish government spent $61 million on electronic voting machines. The promise was that electronic voting and electronic counting save time and money. Unfortunately. It was an embarrassing fiasco that looks terribly laughable within today.
The main problem with these machines was that they were easily tampered with. And they failed to produce an impression on the votes cast using them. This meant that votes could not be double-checked.
When the decision was made in 2009 to dispose of the machines, Ireland spent over $4 million on storage. In the end, the 7,500 machines were collected and recycled for scrap, for about $11 each. Shameful.
Trump’s Voting Machine Complaints
Nobody does elections like the US. It’s a circus of epic proportions, and the ballot box saga was just one part of it. A voting machine scandal became apparent during the last elections. Outgoing President Donald Trump has criticized the use of the electronic voting system. He claimed that it cost him millions of votes.
The machines were supplied by Domain voting systems. Several stories were published, detailing how the owners of the ballot box company had ties to Trump’s political opponents. And that votes for Trump were excluded due to hidden software coding. Or that the votes for Trump were reversed so they would be recorded as votes for Biden. There were issues of voter identity and other claims.
Domain: They still look a little upset
We will likely never know the true story behind the Dominion urns. However, the most obvious problem that needs to be solved is that of authenticity. Any type of electronic voting system must be able to securely verify identity, but this process needs to protect voter privacy. This is the unique selling point of blockchain.
PHI is working with the Concordium blockchain – identity management experts. This is to provide vote anonymity and tamper-proof voting results. Concordium, based in Switzerland, is a sustainable, science-proven, Web 3.0-based blockchain. It is the first decentralized blockchain with protocol-level identification. This identity layer provides transactional privacy as well as supporting regulatory accountability.
Lone Fønss Schrøder is the CEO of Concordium. She says online voting has long been discussed and is gaining traction, especially in the post-COVID era. “Although the technology has been available for some time, there is still great concern about the permeability and vulnerability of these systems. Using blockchain to overcome some of the challenges is yet another use case for this technology.”
Takashi Ok is the co-founder of PHI. He says PHI is the first team in Japan to receive a grant from the Concordium Foundation. “The PHI team will be a bridge between Web2.0 and Web3.0, which will greatly contribute to the development of the blockchain space. Behind the slow progress in the use of public blockchain by companies and public cases, there is a very high hurdle to meet regulatory requirements such as AML/CFT. In Concordium, it is possible to develop applications/services that solve this problem using the ID function to obtain identity and privacy verification.”
While the blockchain voting system seems to show signs of a bright future, we still don’t have decent politicians on the horizon. Is there a dApp for that?
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