The World’s First Amazing Blockchain-Powered Elections' Results In Sie...

The World’s First Amazing Blockchain-Powered Elections' Results In Sierra Leone

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In Sierra Leone (African country) a new milestone for blockchain technology has been achieved. This country with more than 7 million people has elected a new president using blockchain technology. As it did not happen in the past with other world changes, Africa is taking part of the Blockchain revolution. Sixteen candidates were competing for the presidency of the African country, the first in the world to test blockchain technology for a presidential election. However, the new tech was not used throughout the whole country. Rather, it was confined to the country’s most populous region. The voting process was overseen by Agora, a Swiss-based blockchain startup. Once the voting had taken place, up to 400,000 ballots were then manually entered into Agora’s blockchain. The final result for the region (not the country!) as tabulated by Agora: Samura Kamara (APC) was the winner with 54.7% of the votes, while Julius Bio (SLPP) came in second with 32.5%.
Leonardo Gammar, CEO of Agora, says Sierra Leone’s NEC was “open-minded” about the potential of blockchain in its elections after talks began late last year:
“I also thought that if we can do it in Sierra Leone, we can do it everywhere else,” he says.
That thinking is rooted in Sierra Leone’s developmental challenges which make electoral transparency difficult: poor network connectivity, low literacy levels, and frequent electoral violence. The big picture for Agora is to deploy solutions to automate the entire electoral process with citizens voting electronically using biometric data and personalized cryptographic keys and the votes in turn validated by blockchain. Gammar hopes Agora can replicate its work in other African elections on a larger scale but admits that doing so will require understanding the different challenges each country faces. Gammar says blockchain-powered electronic voting will be cheaper for African countries by cutting out the printing cost of paper-based elections but perhaps, more importantly, vastly reduce electoral violence. As Agora hopes to pull off more blockchain-powered elections on a larger scale in Africa, Gammar is confident of finding workarounds for local problems. “If phones are not available, you can go borrow. If you are blind, we can make your phone speak to you. If you don’t read, we can put up pictures,” he says. “There is no big technical issue. Everything else requires being imaginative.” Leonardo Gammar was pleased by how well the overall process worked and of future possibilities, saying:
"I strongly believe that this election is the beginning of a much larger blockchain voting movement."
In the future, Agora wants voters to be able to vote securely straight from their personal electronic devices. To actualize that goal, the company has built a “multi-layer architecture.” As mentioned previously, the blockchain of this architecture is Bulletin Board. The project’s so-called Cotena layer cryptographically connects Bulletin Board with the Bitcoin blockchain. Lastly, there’s the Votapp — the app users can “run on low bandwidth devices.”
blockchain technology
Specifically, governments are interested in this technology because it can help eliminate fraud, but it also cuts down on the debate that surrounds heated elections. The most recent US presidential election is still dealing with the wake of potential fraud and misrepresented voters and most likely will until this term is over or even longer. If the blockchain can overcome this sort of damaging election issues, expect countries to jump on it quickly. The issues plaguing voting was exactly the reason Sierra Leone was chosen to be the first implementation of this new way of counting votes as in previous years the country has been notorious for having corrupt elections go through. However, the presidential election in Sierra Leone is not the first time that blockchain technology has been used in the political realm. Moscow is using the technology as part of its Active Citizen voting system where residents can vote on city issues (but not political candidates). Brazil is also using the technology to allow citizens to easily sign and verify popular petitions. Blockchain technology allows the date to be securely stored in the Blockchain. Besides that, it is impossible to modify the results that have been uploaded. That means that democracy is protected against possible fraudulent activities.   What do you think about Sierra Leone using the blockchain to verify voting results? How do you think privacy concerns should be handled? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.

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