Blockchain has the characteristics of being non-tamperable, verifiable and transparent. Blockchain technology can be used to optimize and improve the efficiency of existing systems, such as the application of blockchain in browsers, because it can reduce the trust cost of all partners. Situation; it is also possible to innovate more collaborative scenarios, such as the blockchain voting and its impact described in this article.
Anonymous voting is the easiest way to protect the integrity of a vote, while also protecting the privacy of voters. Digital voting has always been a huge challenge, as it is difficult to ensure that each ballot is valid while maintaining anonymity, and blockchain voting can be changed by encryption.
In fact, blockchain voting has changed some elections. Now, US West Virginia military personnel serving overseas can vote for their home elections on their mobile phones. These voting conditions are recorded by the registration information combined with encryption technology and blockchain. Countries such as Brazil, Denmark, South Korea and Switzerland are also exploring blockchain elections. However, Estonia is currently in the lead. Estonian citizens have unique identity cards that allow them to vote on the blockchain quickly and safely.
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Digitizing the most important aspects of democracy can have far-reaching and lasting impact on management around the world. Citizens can make decisions faster, and referendums are a viable option. Representative democracy may be marginalized because of the direct democracy of citizens – but this is only a slight glimpse. Blockchain elections will also make it more difficult or even impossible to manipulate elections.
01 Blockchain voting basic principles
Blockchain voting is similar to the analog voting we are used to, and their concepts and processes are similar. In order to make a digital vote, citizens need to register and prove their citizenship in a particular jurisdiction, and then associate the user key with the blockchain to record their identity and nationality.
Next, citizens need to vote to vote. In the blockchain, it is likely that a special voting token form will be used to store this token in the user's account. This Token may also have a time limit for voting, after which it will be destroyed or expired by smart contract.
Voting with a blockchain involves sending a voting Token to a specific address. Voters will know which address is in line with which candidate or referendum, and sending a token to that address means voting.
From a technical point of view, this sounds simple. Voting will be registered on the blockchain, and the blockchain cannot be tampered, verifiable and transparent. We can easily sing tickets and announce the winners of the election. In addition, we can design a friendly user interface that hides the process of sending tokens to specific addresses in the background and automates them. Instead, voters will see a simple online interface where they can choose a candidate or a proposal and then click Submit.
02 Verify voter identity
Since the above explanation sounds so simple, why are we not voting on the blockchain? Wait a moment, the actual situation is much more complicated. There are many problems that need to be solved first.
A major issue is verifying the identity of voters. In order for blockchain voting to work, we need a system to prevent people from voting multiple times and to prevent non-human voting. This is tricky in the blockchain because it relies on a centralized authority to verify citizenship or residency documents.
Blockchain solutions may rely on passports or driver's license scans submitted by people. The identity can then be connected to the mobile device via a password and two-factor authentication or biometric (such as a fingerprint) with the purpose of verifying that the person submitting the citizenship document is the same person who was active on the computer or smartphone when voting.
03 keep anonymous voting
However, once we verify our identity and vote, we can no longer interfere in voting. Importantly, one of the key parts of democracy is the secret ballot. No one should know how you voted, so they can't influence your vote in any way.
For blockchain voting, information registered on the blockchain should not include identifiable information. This means that the information of the voting token sender must be hidden. There are a variety of methods that can be implemented, including zero-knowledge proofs, circular transactions, and other encryption methods. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages and technical challenges. Making anonymity and identity authentication at the same time is a big challenge in blockchain voting.
Network security experts generally believe that blockchain is unbreakable (as long as it has the right network size and consistency algorithm). Logical proofs and statistics show that once a block in the network is identified, it is increasingly impossible to be destroyed. However, the anonymity required for voting is more difficult to guarantee and it is more difficult to ensure that voting will not be affected.
04 possible effects
If blockchain voting continues to increase in popularity and availability, it will have a huge impact. It may fundamentally change the way democracy works.
1. Improve the transparency of the voting process
The biggest advantage of blockchain voting is to increase transparency. Now, once you have voted, what happens next is irrelevant to you. Even if you believe that the voting staff will accurately calculate the number of votes, there is no way to ensure that your vote counts.
On the blockchain, you can track your vote and see that it ends up in the right place. Even if it doesn't associate your information with it, your vote will exist in the blockchain, and all history will not change.
2, reduce fraud and election fraud
A combined effect of increasing transparency is to reduce fraud. By blockchain authentication, it becomes more difficult to spoof the system or vote in the wrong jurisdiction.
In addition, in countries where dictators manipulate elections, blockchain can bring real democracy. Of course, starting the blockchain voting system requires the support of the current functional department. However, over time, blockchains may become an international voting standard.
3, daily real-time voting
If the blockchain makes the vote transparent, then we can track and count the votes in real time, which means the election can be completed in less time. Moreover, if they are digital, the investment in voting infrastructure will decrease. Therefore, voting can be conducted in a short preparation period in order to quickly conduct a referendum.
This will completely change our daily lives. Imagine if you can vote on your mobile phone to determine the route of your city, or whether you want to increase taxes to build a new park for your community. Voting can be highly targeted and even community-oriented voting. Voting is more frequent, and there is almost no need to increase spending, which may make voting a daily event.
4. Corporate governance and autonomous organizations
The functional department is not the only institution that can benefit from blockchain voting, and the company's employees or shareholders can also vote for the company's plan. We can even imagine that there may be an unowned enterprise, and every decision of the company is decided by public voting by shareholders.
5. Increase voter participation
A big advantage of blockchain voting may be to increase participation. If the blockchain allows you to vote digitally on your smartphone or computer, the election will be as simple as logging in and casting a ballot in a matter of minutes. This will greatly increase the voter turnout rate and thus make democracy more thorough.
Or, this may also lead to voter fatigue, because voters will eventually realize that they prefer to elect a representative and worry about the policy for them.
The blockchain vote is still not perfect, and it is far from being ready for its prime time. However, once it is recognized by law, it will be a huge change in democracy. It makes voting easier and more transparent and will create a more active voter community. It may also remind us that delegates exist to think about policies on a full-time basis and make informed decisions about things that the public may not be able to fully study.
Currently, several organizations are exploring blockchain voting. A more convenient vote may mean that elections become more frequent and the entire society will change dramatically.
Do you expect the blockchain voting to be realized soon? why? Feel free to share your opinion in the message area.
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"Declaration : This article was translated from "CoinCentral", the original author is Bennett Garner , the article has been revised, the content is the original author's independent point of view, does not represent the vernacular blockchain position, and does not constitute any investment advice or advice. 』