There is a long standing debate that online voting may not be possible due to the nature of technology itself. Simply as we continue to find new ways to keep our information secure and safe, technology that makes said security measures obsolete are in the making. However there is one technology that makes it almost impossible to hack the system, and if a breach occurs there is a tell tale trail left behind for audit-ability of the data. This technology is called Blockchain technology and is currently used to secure our online monetary transactions. This article is an interview of one of the major moguls that has realized that this technology can revolutionize our voting industry.
Online voting requires independent accountability. Blockchain is the best available protocol to guarantee that accountability: a decentralized ledger that can certify any kind of event that happens online. Any user, without the need of requesting permission to an organization, can validate and count every interaction or vote that was made by an online application. Who votes remains anonymous but how many votes is verifiable. By combining this protocol with the open source application DemocracyOS (backed by Y Combinator) we could offer an online solution for voting that could guarantee transparency and openness. This is the key to online trust and a leap civic tech needs.
In one sentence, describe your idea as simply as possible.
Provide support to Open Source voting software DemocracyOS to register online votes in the Blockchain making them unchangeable and verifiable by third parties.
Briefly describe the need that you’re trying to address.
Online voting is still perceived as polling and registering votes in the blockchain can build trust in this process by making the counted votes verifiable by anyone (even if they don’t use or access DemocracyOS). Any implementation of electronic voting can benefit from this technology being available for free with its entire source code available, hopefully becoming a standard for such action. Online civic participation benefits from transparency (open source) and trust (blockchain) by having a robust combination of these technologies.
What progress have you made so far?
DemocracyOS is one of the most active open source efforts to deliver a debate and voting platform. The application has been under development for 3 years with a strong community that contributes daily to its source code (github.com/democracyos) and a hub platform for quick and easy setups. Blockchain use has grown exponentially in the quantity of transactions since 2010 (mostly for commercial applications that support Bitcoin) but as the technology matures new applications are developed. DemocracyOS development and designs team has been exploring it as a way to certify events in time (contracts, transactions and votes) as a side project. We now see it as a core feature of our software and a useful development for other civic tech apps that can benefit from it.
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