South Korea Eyes the Blockchain for Safe Elections

Voting blockchain election
Election voting 20180128. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Restoring faith in elections

One of blockchain’s most promising use-cases is managing voting in a transparent, secure, and reliable manner. To that end, a trio of Korean organizations has joined forces to build “a next generation election system”. I’mCloud, developer of AI chatbot ADDIE and OpenSight, a data processing analysis system, has enlisted ICONLOOP-NEC (courtesy of the ICON Foundation) as its blockchain technology consultant. Also associated with the project is the Korea National Information Society Agency (NIA), supervised by Korea National Election Commission (NEC).

ICONLOOP will be involved in showing the best path to construct a voting and ballet counting system that is based on blockchain technology. By involving the core technologies of blockchain, big data, and artificial intelligence, the ICON Foundation plans to craft the “Next Generation Election System” on a foundation of intelligence information technology courtesy of the Korea National Information Society Agency.

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Voting machines are convenient but far from secure. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

How does it work?

I’mCloud will collaborate with the ICON Foundation, the NIA, and the NEC to improve transparency, instill confidence and make the process of voting more efficient. The platform will be created with the focus on the two words— “safe” and “secure”. Candidate registration, voting process as well as ballot counting will be conducted with the help of the blockchain technology. Being an open-source platform, the blockchain technology brings in a safe, cryptographically secured system that is extremely difficult to erase or tamper with.

The objective of the “Building the Next Generation Election System based on Intelligence Information Technology” project is to boost the overall voter confidence by maintaining fairness in elections through transparent systems. A private network will be created for the present remote election system such that the Korean citizens residing abroad can vote without any hassle. On completion of the project, the system will be used for the electoral processes of the country. This project will be a big opportunity for the ICON Foundation team to implement the ICON blockchain network in a real life use case. The fact that the ICON blockchain will be used in this project proves that one can trust the overseer of one of the largest blockchain networks.

A global need

If blockchain-based elections receive sterling marks in South Korea, the voting system will spread as quickly as Korea’s other cultural and technological exports to other parts of the world. As voting has moved away from paper ballots (some say unnecessarily), the danger of tampering has increased instead of going down. While paper ballots may be easier to forge, electronic voting systems opens the door for fraud on a much, much bigger scale. Countries like the USA, and now Brazil, have expressed their fear over interference from foreign countries who may have a vested interest in sowing discord amongst their rivals. Returning to paper ballots is one option, but a reliable and secure blockchain driven solution is certainly the superior alternative.

The project is a big step towards decentralization and blockchain technology implementation, and if successful, will help in promoting democracy and freedom in South Korea as well as rest of the world.


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