Tsukuba is now the first Japanese city to test a voting system that incorporates blockchain technology.
From West Virginia to Switzerland, blockchain’s incorporation into voting systems has created a buzz. Now the Japanese city of Tsukuba is continuing the trend.
According to the Japan Times, a new online voting system that incorporates blockchain has been introduced to let citizens vote for different social contribution project proposals.
Project proposals included the creation of new cancer diagnostic technology, the introduction of a “mystery solving game” for cheap entertainment, and the construction of a system to help manage outdoor sporting competitions.
The voting platform was primarily based around Japan’s “My Number” identification system, which gives all residents in the country a 12-digit identification number.
Officials hope this will make administrative processes easier while cutting down on crimes like tax evasion. On the other hand, some citizens worry the whole concept erodes their sense of basic privacy.
Not Always a Seamless Process
Tsukuba Mayor Tatsuo Igarashi noted that casting his vote with the new system was rather easy, despite worries that it would “involve more complicated procedures.”
However, the system was not without some hiccups.
Citizens were able to vote by computer after letting a card reader scan their My Number card while blockchain was incorporated to help safeguard the voting information from fraud. Yet some said it was difficult to see if a vote was actually counted.
Despite some of the issues seen in Tsukuba, blockchain-based voting has been catching on as more and more locales across the globe begin to experiment.
Making History with Blockchain Voting
The town of Zug, Switzerland made headlines this summer after completing a trial of a blockchain-based voting system. City communication chief Dieter Muller said the first test was a success, as those who chose to participate found the actual voting process to be fairly simple.
About a month earlier, investors at Santander Bank’s annual general meeting were also able to cast votes through a blockchain-based system.
In March, West Virginia tested out a blockchain-based mobile voting application. The idea was to give out-of-state military personnel a way to easily vote in elections.
Virginia’s Secretary of State teamed up with Boston-based startup Voatz to make the application available for qualified personnel.
There was one instance in which purported blockchain-verified voting was simply fake news. Initial reports out of Sierra Leone in March said officials worked with blockchain startup Agora to confirm votes in one region of the country.
Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission then fired back, writing writing about their use of an in-house database to compile election results. The Commission said blockchain was not used in any part of the electoral process.
What are your thoughts on blockchain-based voting? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Unsplash.
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