In the letter
- In a recent draft of a new paper, a team of MIT scientists said voting on the blockchain is insecure and error-prone.
- Pete Martin, CEO of a blockchain-based mobile voting company called Votem, has some thoughts.
- He suggested that the concerns in the document focus on ideal circumstances, not the real world.
As long as the researchers warned about the dangers of blockchain voting, blockchain voting companies retorted that, in fact, blockchain voting is safe.
In February MIT researchers have published a paper stating that the blockchain voting app Voatz inadvertently allowed “different types of opponents to alter, block or expose a user’s vote.” Voatz CEO he replied to the newspaper saying it was “full of holes”.
This week, MIT scientists released a file new draft of a document with an even wider reach, stating that blockchain voting technology is prone to “nationwide” bankruptcy. Pete Martin, CEO of Votem, which offers mobile voting via blockchain technology, says the document doesn’t hold up.
In the last episode of Decrypt Daily podcast, Martin Matthew Aaron told host that the MIT scientists who co-authored the draft are too focused on the “ideal world of voting.”
“As an academic, you can talk about all the potential problems with any type of system, any type of process,” he said. “But there is a real world out there.”
Martin, whose Linkedin page describes it as a “revolutionary blockchain and mobile voting”, targeted many of the newspaper’s claims, which he reduced to concerns about voting secrecy, software independence, the ability of ballots to be verified by voters, contestability and auditing.
In terms of the secrecy of the vote, Martin said: “To be honest, [neither] neither we nor other blockchain voting providers use blockchain as the only security technique to prevent any nation-state attacks. ”He argued that blockchain, when combined with other security measures, could provide a secure voting system.
Regarding the verification, Martin stated: “[The researchers] I believe that a hand-marked paper ballot is the most verifiable type of ballot paper for voters. The problem is that there is a concept in voting called chain of custody. “But, he said,” The moment you put it in the mail, the moment you drop it in a box, you’ve lost your chain of custody. ”
He continued: “And so the vast majority of ballots passed through the system in 2020 didn’t have true end-to-end voter verifiability. And the blockchain provides this capability. “
The West Virginia state government, which used Voatz for some voters in the 2018 midterm election, has abandoned the app in the wake of MIT’s February report. Voatz later filed an amicus request with the US Supreme Court arguing that unauthorized security research, of the kind done by MIT researchers, should be classified as cyber fraud.
Unlike Voatz, Votem has not yet touched the world of politics; The app’s website lists private elections and online fan voting among its potential use cases and features Votems on a smaller scale.