The Swiss town of Zug, also dubbed the “Crypto Valley”, has tested its own blockchain-based voting system, with the first run proving to be smooth and problem-free. The small-scale vote, which this time acted as more of a consultative approach and is non-binding for the town’s authorities, is part of Zug’s broader policy to embrace the blockchain technology and implement it across a variety of public sectors and industries. The town has been granting its citizens digital identities since early 2017.
Dieter Müller, head of communications for the Crypto Valley, briefly reaffirmed that “the premiere was a success” to local news outlets. One slight concern was the turnout as only 30 percent (72 out of 240) of those who had access to the online voting system, took part in the voting process.
Voting took place between June 25th and July 1st and used the aforementioned eID system. Both polling information and identities of the residents were stored on the system. While other e-voting systems utilize a central server, the distributed ledger, as we know, is decentralized, thus the voting process was distributed using blockchain across numerous computers.
The participants used smartphones to cast their votes by simply downloading an easy-to-use app. Virtually everyone found it easy to vote digitally, with only three individuals stating otherwise in the follow-up questionnaire.
According to the authorities, other technical details of the trial will be evaluated in the coming months. The evaluation will be focused on whether the system is able to protect privacy and voting secrecy while also providing verifiable and unchangeable results.
Respondents also indicated that they would use digital ID for other services, such as surveys, tax returns or parking fees. Such data is valuable as it indicates new possible blockchain implementation opportunities for the authorities of the Crypto Valley.
The software for the voting was developed by a local company Luxoft, which worked in tandem with the city and the department of computer science at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences.
At the time of development, Vasily Suvorov, CTO of Luxoft explained that “There are concerns about electronic voting because voting is a fundamental mechanism for direct voting… That’s why we believe that this technology should not belong to a single company. We will build the e-voting platform ‘Open Source’ so that people can understand what the technology is and how it works. We want to encourage more people to develop blockchain-based applications for governments worldwide.“
Image Source: “Flickr”