Blockchain “Smart Contracts” Will Revolutionize Voting in Elections
Blockchain technology continues gaining the traction it needs to take the world by storm. We’ve seen it revolutionize some of the core foundations of data tracking and peer-to-peer networking. It has a loyal following of cryptocurrency believers throughout the tech world and is starting to attract the attention of non-techies, converting them as well. Blockchain, and by extension, cryptocurrency, is proving its worth to people from all walks of life.
Blockchain technology, the immutable ledger that makes cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin possible, is a powerful data tracking record that can be used in a variety of fields. In countries like the US, Britain, and Canada it has been used to track sensitive information such as patient records and patent rights.
In developing nations, such as The Philippines or Peru, blockchain technology serves another purpose. It is connecting people who live in remote areas to products and services they have not had access to before. Internet, data sharing, and digital forms of ID are all now at the tips of their fingers — literally, since it will be on their smartphones.
Spire will continue to improve the livelihoods of those who are discovering the opportunity the internet provides, through our exclusive partnership with UpChannel. UpChannel provides a white-labeled telecom software, including the Spire token, which is launching soon to power the digital cryptocurrency wallet and decentralized apps (dApps) in a curated marketplace.
We touched on the importance of identity in a previous blog post that you can read. Let’s dig into how blockchain can improve voting systems.
Flashback to Arizona. It’s September 2016. For the US Presidential election, lines are wrapped around the block, as people waited up to five hours to cast their vote. Meanwhile, they were surely all on their phones trying to pass time. A blockchain-based voting system that can be accessed on a smartphone could have saved a lot of people a lot of time. And it can do it in a virtually fraud-free way.
Voting is a high-value, high-risk, information transaction. And with that comes high stakes. It’s no surprise that casting paper votes is a dated system. However, it is a more secure option than an Internet-based electronic voting system. And it’s miles ahead of the voting method of dropping a plastic chip in a box, like in emerging markets.
If the world turned to Internet-based electronic voting there would have to be heightened security, along with a way to track votes, making sure one person equals one vote. No more, no less. Professional hackers have continually found weak spots within the internet to break into confidential material that is better left alone. This is where blockchain technology could make a difference.
Blockchain technology utilizes the power of what are called “smart contracts”. These legally-binding contracts between 2 parties automatically react to a “if then, this that” algorithm. Meaning 1 action triggers another action. And once the information is transmitted, it can’t be undone. Issuing a smart contract to each registered citizen limiting them to one vote could lay the groundwork to provide a reliable and virtually fraud-free voting system.
Blockchain-based voting could also increase voter participation. Think back to poll lines in Arizona. People have responsibilities like work, picking up their kids, and being on time for appointments. It is likely that a good portion of people left their place in line, their vote going uncast. Seeing these lines, some people probably said, “rather not,” and didn’t even bother to show up.
Conversely, had an Internet-based, electronic voting system been in place, voters could have cast their vote from their laptop or smartphone. This would have saved everyone waiting in line five hours of their time and hopefully encouraged those on the fence to participate.
Blockchain can add to that, providing an alternative that is secure and essentially hack proof. Blockchain relies on a distributed, global web of nodes that have to validate each transaction and communicate with the whole network. This network increases accuracy and decreases fraud, by making it so difficult for a hacker, they might opt for a “real” job.
There are certainly other processes and industries that could greatly benefit from what this emerging technology has to offer. Blockchain-backed voting mechanisms could help increase voter participation and decrease hacking and voter fraud, while moving the world toward an electronic voting system.
With the rapid adoption of Android smartphones in emerging markets, Spire looks forward to being the launchpad of groundbreaking new blockchain use cases for people around the world.
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