Applications and Use Cases

U.S. Senate Considering Blockchain Technology for Remote Voting

May 08, 2020

The U.S. Congress is reportedly looking at blockchain technology to facilitate remote voting during COVID-19. A Senate staff memo revealed the plans as the Senate reconvened this week. The memo was composed following the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Roundtable at the Continuity of Senate Operations and Remote Voting in Times of Crisis event.

Blockchain is being considered for deployment alongside end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) applications to enable secure remote voting. Blockchain would be used through an encrypted distributed ledger, enabling both the transmission of votes securely as well as the ability to verify a correct vote. The staff memo said that those characteristics have been used to promote the effectiveness of blockchain-based voting systems.

“Blockchain can provide a secure and transparent environment for transactions and a tamper-free electronic record of all the votes,” according to the memo. “It also reduces the risks of incorrect vote tallies.” The document also mentioned that the two chambers of the U.S. Congress have always met in person to conduct business and that neither chamber had plans to enable its functions to be carried out remotely.

The memo noted the Senate was concerned about security, including potential vulnerabilities from cryptographic flaws and software bugs. It stated that “any remote blockchain voting system would need to be properly set up to eliminate any threat of 51 percent attack.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is also reportedly being urged to look at blockchain-based stimulus distributions during COVID-19.

Blockchain has rapidly risen in prominence globally during the coronavirus pandemic, with China recently announcing it would play a vital role in planning the country's economy and managing information flow.

Governments throughout Europe as well as the Honduras and United Arab Emirates are also using blockchain for a variety of applications to fight the spread of COVID-19. And in the U.S., a consortium of companies are partnering with government agencies and health organizations, including WHO, to build a blockchain-based open data hub.

Based on the MiPasa platform created by blockchain company HACERA, the hub detects COVID-19 carriers and infection hotspots quickly and precisely. IBM, Microsoft and Oracle are all working to build out the open data hub on the blockchain platform.

Edited by Maurice Nagle



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