Blockchain experimentation and adoption in Russia has reached a new height with the announcement of a blockchain-based electronic voting system.
The Russian news outlet, Tass reported that the all-Russian Congress of Public Observers was held by NOM, the Russian Fund For Free Elections and the Association of Lawyers of Russia; partners such as the “Corps” for Clean Elections and Public Association Group 32 were also among the 300 representatives who were in attendance at the Congress.
The federal coordinator of NOM, Fedor Kolomoystsev told reporters, “As part of our congress, we are launching in the test mode an electronic voting system [in elections], which is built on a blocking system.”
Unfortunately, no technical details have been revealed as of yet, and it could be some time before more information or pilot results are made public. Russia has been particularly bullish on blockchain technology this year. In June, Russian banks made positive strides towards facilitating digital currency trading by planning to launch cryptocurrency portfolios for private investors.
Furthermore, the Russian Central Bank also began testing a blockchain system to replace the globally adopted SWIFT payment system. This move comes after economic sanctions from the EU and US prompted Russia to seek alternative options in the event that it is banned from SWIFT.
Blockchain technology in 2018 has been flexing its versatile prowess across any industry or sector it touches. And for some time, the use-case of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in political practice has been cautiously approached due to present perceptions of the technology.
This is slowly changing however as some countries are beginning to pioneer the use of blockchain technology in this field.
Earlier in August, neighbouring country Ukraine officially went live with its voting trial using the NEM blockchain. The technology has been commended for being immutable, transparent and secure. The Ukrainian Central Commission also noted on social media that it will continue to run a number of trials.
In early March, the Mountain State of West Virginia in the United States announced a blockchain voting trial that would be piloted during its primary Senate elections in May 2018. This was concluded to be a success and West Virginia Secretary of State Mark Warner’s office reported that there were no problems.
From this, West Virginia pushed ahead to remedy a situation laterally with a blockchain voting system that provides overseas military troops with a smart-phone application that allows for them to vote in the upcoming November elections.
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