According to The Korea Times, the Republic of South Korea is considering the possibility of pursuing a voting system based on the Blockchain. Driven by the drive to exploit the fourth industrial revolution, the Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) are trying to exploit the intrinsic trust and verifiability of Blockchain-based protocols. "Technology basically prevents counterfeiting or falsification of voting results, it also allows candidates and election observers to have access to the data, saved on the Blockchain system, to check the results with their own eyes, the ministry observed … Based on the results of the test services, the ministry and the NEC will apply the technology to the online voting system of the latter, dubbed K-Voting. "
The authors Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey observed the same potential for the verifiability of the vote based on Blockchain in The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the future of everything. "The idea is that Blockchain, by ensuring that no vote can be counted twice, as no bitcoins can be spent in two, could for the first time enable reliable mobile voting via smartphones – probably both will reduce discrimination against of those who can not arrive in time to the polls and will create a more transparent and responsible electoral system that can be controlled independently and which generates public trust. "Trust and consensus are at the heart of Blockchain technology. What is described here, in a sense, is voting using distributed networks.
Discussions on Blockchain technology tend to focus on cryptocurrencies and their value as "money". To frame the technology, one notices a lack of appreciation for the subtle potential and opportunities that result from the elimination of the need for reliable third parties. The revolution does not concern money; it's about trust. South Korea demonstrates its foresight with this push.
South Korea is not the first country to try digital voting. As stated in The machine of truthThe voting system I of Estonia, although not on the Blockchain, is considered a step in the right direction. India Aadhaar Project linking the identity card of the voter to biometrics is also in the same spirit. The difference here, though, is that both of these systems depend on a central authority; they do not use cryptographic keys. Indeed, India's program is voluntary because people have shown concern for their privacy and sovereignty of their identity. K-Voting, being based on Blockchain, would have addressed these concerns about privacy and sovereign identity.
The expert and evangelist of Bitcoin Andreas Antonopoulos touches how could electronic voting on the Blockchain be possible?. "[I]You begin to generalize that you can see how there is the possibility of creating a pseudo-currency that is distributed to the population much as if you received the election by post … [W]what you're doing is getting a digital token that you run through your smartphone. The differences now that you can verify that your vote is counted and you can check the fairness of the elections regardless of the way each bitcoin node independently verifies each transaction and the security of the network. "It is possible to have confidence and verifiability in the vote using the cryptocurrency.
And while Blockchain provides the infrastructure to exploit the inherent verifiability of a Blockchain, he is ready to admit that this is something that is going on. Like most things in Blockchain, the solutions are clear in the abstract but, in practice, the technology may not be there yet. "I expect electronic voting will probably take decades, but it's in the system's capacity." I do not know how to solve it, but I'm sure there are many really smart computer scientists working on it. "Perhaps these computer scientists are Korean.
The recent mid-term elections in the United States have had accusations of voter purges is Wrong votes. A Blockchain voting system, which would be verifiable and immutable, would allow greater participation and confidence in results. Blockchain could help bring about a true reform of representative democracy.
Governments like South Korea are stepping up to pave the way, even if they do not specify what protocol they intend to use. Their results will determine the establishment of these systems in other governments around the world. In both cases, voting is just one example where the cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology will interrupt government institutions and our daily lives.
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Carlos Acevedo is a writer and educator whose crypto-journey has not started so much with Bitcoin, but with Dogecoin in 2014. And while this involvement was not insanely profitable, the experience in the fundamental best practices in the use of the crypto it became useful when the boom of 2017 occurred. Already in possession of a Coinbase account after listening to Andreas Antonopolous in the Joe Rogan Experience, he was ready to jump in and has not looked back since. Studying cryptocurrency and exploring its potential, pitfalls and possibilities has become part of its daily life. You can find it on Twitter at the address @ CLAcevedo222.