We have been seeing a lot of developments in the way Blockchain technology is used for purposes apart from Bitcoin transactions. Most of these new developments are already covered on NewsBTC and we will continue to bring any future developments to you as and when it happens.
We have seen Blockchain technology being used in the Proof of Existence platforms, Electronic Medical Data management among other things. Blockchain technology, thanks to the evolution of Bitcoin has the potential to revamp many existing systems. One such system is the electoral process.
Election is an integral process for any democracy. It is a formal process where the population of a state or a territory choose their representative, generally an individual to hold public office. This decision making mechanism has been there for centuries. People choose the preferred representative by voting their selection and the one with the majority of votes wins. This method of selection is not just limited to governments, but also used in organizations, companies and other establishments where members and stakeholders are involved.
Over the years different methods have been used to cast ballots in elections. In history we see different materials used as ballot. Ancient Romans used paper ballots as early as 139 AD. Similarly, by about 920 AD, ancient Indians used palm leaves for ballot. Paper ballot has survived the passage of time and it is still being used in many countries for elections. Gradually, with the advancement in technology, Electronic Voting Machines have come into existence and is widely used by India in its electoral process, which also exports it to other countries for use by their respective authorities entrusted to conduct elections. Online voting process is also being adopted by countries like USA.
The next most obvious transition will be using cryptocurrency like alternatives for ballots, with Blockchain as the backbone of the whole process. Blockchain, as we know it is virtually impossible to tamper, and it will also bring about transparency in the whole election process.
How can Blockchain be used in electoral process?
It is as simple as making a Bitcoin transaction where the process gets recorded on the Blockchain. The ballot will be a cryptocoin that is technically similar to a Bitcoin, but with a special marker. The PollCoin (or whatever you want to call it) will be the crypto-ballot and the ballot-box will be a digital wallet to which the PollCoin will be sent.
How will it work?
In an election, depending upon the number of contestants, each one will be issued a unique PollCoin and every eligible voter in the registry will be given one PollCoin belonging to each candidate. There will be two wallets (ballot-boxes) labelled “Accept” and “Reject” and the candidate can send the PollCoin of the respective candidate to the wallet of their choice. These transactions/votes can be verified to avoid fraud.
In order to ensure anonymity of voters, and prevent them being tracked and identified using their IP address or any other identifiers, TOR Protocol or other IP masking utilities can be included in a special package to be used for voting. These packages will run on the client system, during the voting process, which might be included in a special program to be downloaded specifically to cast ballot during elections by the voters.
Alternatively, every voter can be issued one PollCoin, and wallets created for each contestant along with an additional wallet for those who don’t want to elect any of them. And the same process takes over. All the transactions will be recorded on the Blockchain ledger, ensuring transparency while building trust in the electoral process. The process of using Blockchain for polling is being experimented right now, with companies like ColoredCoins, BitCongress and Agora Voting working on the pilot projects.
The potential of Blockchain technology never ceases to amaze us and it makes us realize its importance as and when a new use case for the technology emerges. Blockchain is going to change the world as we know it – One block at a time.