Applications and Use Cases

Moscow to Use Blockchain for Critical Vote on Extending Putin Presidency

June 18, 2020

Moscow is the latest city to take advantage of blockchain to ensure security and transparency in its voting process. The news portal for Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin reports that the new blockchain-based system will be used to for a vote on proposed changes to the Russian constitution at the end of this month.

All citizens with permanent registration in Moscow who are over the age of 18 will be eligible to use the blockchain system to vote on June 30. They will be required to register online, and the system will cross-check the information submitted against that in the centralized database of voters. The process will be used to identify and verify applicants who are eligible to participate in the electronic voting process.

According the Mayor's statement, the information will be encrypted and anonymous. One encryption key will be held by the voter, while the second will be divided into several parts for storage by different network participants, as dictated by the distributed ledger and decentralized nature of blockchain.

The vote is an important one for Moscow, as the constitutional amendment will extend President Vladimir Putin's term until 2036. He is currently set to leave his post in 2024.

Blockchain is gaining popularity globally for use in electronic voting thanks to its decentralization and transparency. Sierra Leone became the first country to make use of it in 2018, with votes stored in an immutable distributed ledger. Estonia used the technology for it's parliamentary elections last year, and other countries and municipalities including Italy have dabbled with the technology, with mixed results.

The US is now attempting to enter the world of blockchain voting, amidst much controversy. Last month, a Senate memo revealed plans to look at blockchain based voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the memo also expressed concern about potential vulnerabilities from cryptographic flaws and software bugs.

And as states look to the possibility of electronic voting for the upcoming November presidential election, the American Association for the Advancement of Science has issued a letter urging officials not to allow the practice.

"At this time, internet voting is not a secure solution for voting in the United States, nor will it be in the foreseeable future,” states the letter. “If a blockchain architecture is used, serious questions arise regarding what content is stored in it, how the blockchain is decrypted for public access, and how votes are ultimately transferred to some type of durable paper record. No scientific or technical evidence suggests that any internet voting system could or does address these concerns.”

West Virginia recently opted not to used blockchain-based platform Voatz for residents with disabilities and citizens living abroad. The state chose mail-in paper ballots instead.

To learn more about how blockchain is impacting electronic voting while also ushering in a new global supply chain and economic practices, TMC is hosting The Blockchain Event at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, FL from June 22-25, 2021. Colocated with ITEXPO, the event will offer dedicated content about how blockchain is transforming world governments and disrupting a variety of industries while also creating a new global economy.

Edited by Maurice Nagle



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