Recent years have not been short of political controversies. With Donald Trump’s position as President of the United States rivalled for its position as one of the most shocking political events of the last decade by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, it’s certainly been a strange few years – and the continued advancements of technology have not helped. Now, perhaps more than ever, our growing reliance on technology has left society open to fraud and hacking, and there exists a sizeable amount of fear when it comes to the technological world colliding with that which runs our nations; a fear that was soon realised when news such as Russian hackers targeting conservatives in the US, hoping to access huge amounts of data, broke around the world.
However, technology no longer has to be the villain in politics. The alleged rigging of votes in Vladimir Putin’s landslide re-election victory became a hot topic in Russia last year, and whether this news is true or false, it’s clear that technology isn’t the only problem when it comes to political scandals. Of course, it can be a complicating factor in political and election controversy – and has proven so in the past – but the brilliance of technology is that it evolves, and it could soon be at the point where it can remove these problems entirely.
Blockchain can benefit everyone – not just business
There have been countless articles and column inches dedicated to blockchain – with opinions ranging from good to bad and everything in between, but most of this discussion revolves around its use within business, and how it could change industry as we know it with huge improvements in reliability and efficiency within the supply chain.
To business people, this might be an interesting topic, but to those outside of that world, it changes nothing. Blockchain, to many, is a fancy piece of new technology that doesn’t make much sense – yet it has the whole world talking about it.
In most instances, blockchain’s use case arrives in the form of a future solution to problems faced by companies. However, by no means is it limited to enterprise, and it can actually play a hugely important role in politics – something that benefits the entire population.
Through the introduction of a blockchain based election voting application, we could see stark differences to how voting is carried out around the world – in a way that is both safe for voters and invulnerable to rigging or fraud.
With the app, all registrations would be complete without any admin errors or troubles – all necessary details would go through the blockchain, be accepted and ready for voting. People would cast votes with private keys – acting as their form of identification – through the blockchain . Similarly to registration, these votes would be be accepted and sent through the blockchain – completely anonymously – and instantly registered There’s no time delay, and no human error. Voter fraud would become impossible due to the unhackable nature of the technology, and these anonymous votes taking place online would mean that any outside pressures or administration mistakes would be impossible. The controversy surrounding Brian Kemp’s accused voter suppression in Georgia’s state elections is only one example of an issue that could well have been avoided if blockchain based voting was in effect.
A more accurate representation of what the public wants
The simplicity and security of a blockchain based app also has the potential to lead to increased voter percentage. In the UK’s decision to leave the EU, a lot of the arguments following the result came in the divide between young and old. With much of the older generations opting to leave the European Union, and the youth wishing to remain, the entire referendum vote could have turned out much differently if more than 64% of registered voters between the ages 18 and 24 had decided to vote.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that elections would see a 100% turnout, but the simplicity of voting would increase the likelihood of more votes taking place. A blockchain based voting app could facilitate this – and while we can’t speculate as to whether the outcome of the Brexit referendum would have been any different, the UK would have received a much more accurate representation of what the people wanted had more people taken the decision to actually vote.
Finally, the simplicity and reliability would continue all the way through to the eventual outcome of an election. No longer would we rely on exit polls to gauge the progress of voting, nor would we need to stay up until the early hours of the morning before finding out which party has triumphed – everything will be in real time, progress will be tracked from voting opening all the way to its closing; we will be given instant, true results.
The technology to put all of this into practice is not quite ready yet, but it’s not necessarily far off. The political changes that such an implementation could produce could be huge. The opportunity for corruption will lower, there would be little chance of claims of fraud and the entire voting process will only become easier with blockchain.
We see a lot of discussion about how businesses can take advantage of this emerging technology, but it’s also important to realise that there is potential for blockchain to impact more than just business processes. The voting app would only enhance democratic practice on a global scale, and there is a huge opportunity here for blockchain to make the world a better place.
This is a contributed article by Tomislav Matic, CEO and Co-Founder of Crypto Future, a Blockchain IT solution provider.