Japanese city deploys online blockchain voting system

Japanese residents of Tsukuba can now vote for social development programs thanks to a blockchain-based online voting system just introduced by the city's government. The My Number Card system is a first-of-its-kind voting system in the country and is a 12-digit social security identifier on which all residents of the country can verify their credentials.

The system will help to secure the vote from being falsified or accessed. Storage on the blockchain means it cannot be tampered by unauthorized access. How it works is by voters accessing a computer and placing their My Number card on a card reader before they can cast their vote while selecting the program of their choice.

Although it is the first of its kind in the country, the city, which is a center for scientific research in Japan, joins a list of governments that are turning to blockchain technology to power and secure voting solutions. West Virginia also tested a mobile voting system based on the blockchain, which is a first of its kind in the country. It will be used for military service members overseas using their state or federal ID over a smartphone app.

The system was already used in the May 8th primary elections in these particular regions in the form of a pilot project that was restricted to two counties, namely Harrison County and Monongalia County. All that they needed was a regular Apple or Android smartphone and approved State or Federal ID.

Residents of the city of Zug in Switzerland in June used the city’s eID system to vote through their smartphones on the blockchain platform. The system was reported as successful according to Dieter Müller, head of communications for the city of Zug to the Swiss News Agency. Voters were able to vote through an app they could download and register. The project aimed at ensuring the protection of privacy, voting secrecy, as well as the ensuring that the voting results can be verifiable, unchangeable and comprehensible.

The project followed another but related blockchain initiative in which the city has been issuing residents with digital identities since winter 2017. The system was a distributed one on the blockchain across many computers. Two Swiss cantons namely Schaffhausen and Zug, which are magnets for international companies, also now have digital IDs to enhance services and attract more firms (both domestic and foreign businesses). The residents will be able to use the systems to pay taxes, register businesses, apply for permits and take advantage of a host of other council services on their computer. This will make it easier to do these services.

While Zug is building itself as a 'Crypto Valley,' a leading center for cryptocurrency and financial technology companies, Schaffhausen has attracted more than 500 companies have established operations in Schaffhausen in the past 20 years. These have created more than 3,000 new jobs and transformed the local economy. 

More cantons are also trialing the e-voting system although Schaffhausen and Zug are leading.
Also, Ukraine Central Election Commission has done a trial vote on the NEM blockchain. E-Vox, which is an open democracy blockchain, committed to deploying blockchain-based voting in Ukraine signed a memorandum to support a blockchain-based voting system.

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