A financial company has developed proprietary software that provides end-to-end validity of votes using the bitcoin blockchain technology, used recently in Sierra Leone election.
While many people are figuring out affordable ways to mine bitcoins, even setting up near hydroelectric plants to harness extra energy, there is an ever growing number of innovations using the technology that bitcoin is built on: the blockchain. Our most recent spotting comes from a real-world example of the voting system used in a recent Sierra Leone election.
Switzerland-based Agora has developed proprietary software that offers convenience for users, transparency and security during the voting processes. Agora realized that the blockchain software technology should provide everything needed for a free and fair voting system. It anonymizes users, is untamperable and remains as an open ledger available for anyone to see. Citizens, government and third parties can access the results throughout the election as they appear on a publicly available platform called the Bulletin Board. While users can verify that their vote was indeed counted, end-to-end encryption and anonymization ensures that their vote remains private.
Agora’s blockchain network is decentralized, maintained by disparate nodes. These ‘witness nodes’, called the Cothority, ensure against vote manipulation. A digitized election will also reduce costs by saving on paper and staffed physical polling stations, as well as travel costs incurred by voters. This increases the likelihood of governments running elections, as some simply can’t afford the costs required for a fair physical polling system. By allowing remote voting via smart devices, intimidation tactics (physical prevention of voting by armed groups or forced voting) will be less effective, enhancing citizen security. The Agora voting system was restricted to Sierra Leone’s Western District on March 7th, 2018, with results available to the public.
As well as voting systems we’ve also seen blockchain technology being utilized in many other areas, including smart locks, a means to profit from personal genetic data and a way to help homeless people access services. How else will blockchain software impact industries?