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Building the future of Internet Voting 🗳️Our mission: making your #voter's life easy! #saas #startup #blockchain #voting #governance #civic
Building the future of Internet Voting 🗳️Our mission: making your #voter's life easy! #saas #startup #blockchain #voting #governance #civic


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Online Voting And The Blockchain Revolution

In recent years it seems that everything is done online — talking to your doctor, managing your bank accounts or find dates. But one thing still has to catch up on this trend: online voting.

Despite the digitalisation of our society we still can’t vote from the comfort of our home. In our day and age it is surprising that we still have to get in line and insert a piece of paper in a box to elect our representatives.
This is even more surprising when we look at the arguments in favour of online voting. Not only will it reduce costs and improve efficiency but also people seems to be more willing to participate in an election.

Campaign group WebRoots Democracy laid out the argument for online votes in its own report, claiming two thirds of respondents to a survey would be more likely to vote if they could do so online, and that’s particularly true for younger voters. Plus, the report claimed online voting would cut the cost per vote by a third and reduce the number of accidentally spoiled ballots.
Countries around the world have started to run pilots. The UK has run online voting trials for local elections before — in 2002, 2003 and 2007 — and Estonia famously became the first to offer online voting for its general election for parliament in 2007.

So why isn’t online voting generalised?
It seems that some critics continue to call for caution, saying electronic voting isn’t secure enough to trust for the basis of our democracy.
As a report into e-voting in Switzerland from Harvard’s cyber law department pointed out: “It is reasonable to assume that the systems will be exposed to higher numbers of attempted attacks and manipulation as the use of e-voting becomes more widespread”.

The issue is clear, online voting adoption has yet to take off meaningfully worldwide because of concerns that existing platforms are vulnerable to fraud, corruption and sabotage.

There is, however, a common agreement over a potential solution: the introduction of blockchain technology may change the conversation.
Bitcoin blockchain works as an electronic ledger of payments that is continuously maintained and verified in “blocks” of records. The ledger is shared between parties on computer servers and protected from tampering by cryptography, doing away with the need for a central authority. Thus, transparency is blockchain’s key benefit on security stand point. Distributing evidence across many blockchain nodes makes it practically impossible to manipulate data without being caught.

Now, just as Bitcoin where users make transactions by sending the digital currency to the recipient’s digital wallet, blockchain voting systems involve creating wallets for each candidate or option in an election. All voters are then allocated a digital “coin” that represents one vote, which they can cast by sending their “coin” to the wallet of their choice. As in a Bitcoin transaction, the entire process is recorded in the blockchain public ledger, meaning that unlike most current elections, a voter can verify that his or her vote was actually counted.

While the lack of anonymity in the Bitcoin system is a drawback for adoption in voting platforms, the use of anonymizing software can help ensure that voters’ identities are not revealed. The New York-based V-Initiative is working on delivering open-source, fraud-proof, fully anonymous digital voting solutions based on the blockchain and uses zero-knowledge proof cryptography allied with IP masking software such as the “TOR” program to safeguard voter anonymity.

An other project called Enigma, developed at MIT, is of particular interest. Enigma is based on blockchain technology and is designed to be a “decentralised computation platform with guaranteed privacy”. According to the Enigma white paper, it is a peer to peer network enabling different parties to jointly store and run computations on data while keeping the data itself completely private, using an optimised version of secure, multi-party computation. An external blockchain is used as the controller of the network, managing access control, identities, and acting as a tamper-proof log of events. The potential benefits of this type of technology are substantial; organisations can potentially outsource processing of data on an entirely private basis, thereby eliminating (or at least substantially decreasing) a number of the risks associated with the data management chain.
These projects are still in their development phase, but they provide great hope for the future of online voting.

The Votebox blog |
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