Can you imagine elections, in the present lockdown situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic? If you can’t then you are way behind the students of the University of Malta, who successfully conducted their student elections amid the lockdown, with the help of Blockchain technology.
These students who are from the department of Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers Technology (Masters Program) have reportedly built a Dapp or decentralized application to conduct the university’s student representative elections.
The Dapp is built on a decentralized digital identity platform provided by a telecom company, and the elections were conducted while on lockdown through that.
It has been reported, that the decentralized voting application was initially built to enable the voters to have autonomous control over their data during times of elections. However, owing to the lockdown situation the Dapp proved to be more advantageous than anyone thought it to be, allowing voters to participate in university elections remotely. This brings to light another potential of blockchain for the voting use case, that can be further utilized in bigger elections, in case of similar circumstances.
Blockchain for Voting – Other Use Cases
That Blockchain technology can be harnessed to develop and transparent voting ecosystem, which is a potential use case of the technology that has been under consideration by multiple governments around the world. Some have even initiated the process and tried it within their domain.
Sierra Leone was the first country to conduct an election using blockchain in 2018. The technology was used to digitally log and verify each paper ballot.
South Korea recently tested its blockchain-backed voting with its online voting system which will be implemented in their regular system if the trials come out to be successful.
India’s Chief Election Commissioner too expressed his wish to implement blockchain in the country’s election procedure allowing citizens to cast votes from outside of their constituencies.
In 2019 the Authorities of Moscow strategized and launched a pilot project to initiate e-voting via a decentralized blockchain platform. Rather than a replacement, the project was started as an alternative form of voting for the people living in Moscow.
It was reported a couple of years ago that Japan was experimenting with a blockchain-based digital voting system that would rely on digital identity verification for authentication of voter’s identity.
The list of countries trying to build their version of blockchain-based voting systems includes Turkey, as well.
Although critics have been raising questions regarding the authenticity, privacy and security of such a system, the recent use case in the University of Malta, did prove that transparent and remote elections are possible with the adoption of blockchain technology.