News media outlet Bangkok Post announced yesterday that the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) in Thailand developed a hybrid e-voting and traditional voting system using blockchain technology.

Head of the cybersecurity laboratory at NECTEC Chalee Vorakulpipat said: “Nectec developed blockchain technology for e-voting that can be applied to national, provincial or community elections.” The technology according to him is not limited to community politics and can also be used in “business votes such as the board of directors.”

The goal of using a blockchain, a technology that is immutable is to “reduce fraud and maintain data integrity”. Chalee said that blockchain is being used “to store valuable data and important documents, such as contracts and votes,” because it is essentially a decentralized system and data are distributed across nodes that make up the system.

According to the news outlet, NECTEC is optimistic about the practical application of blockchain to voting processes in the Thai region, which will become optimized at higher network throughput saying, “When 5G is eventually adopted, all voters will be connected.”

However, before that utopia is achieved, citizens need to be sensitized about the workings of blockchain technology in order to facilitate the processes in a seamless and more efficient manner. Chalee likened the eventual process to that of an online survey done through Google Docs, and with the masses knowledgeable about the system, the process could be simplified through an “email” and then “vote electronically” with users verified using their mobile camera.

More so, Chalee emphasized the need to upgrade the internet connectivity before the process of voting blockchain systems can be effective. “Every voter needs to have an affordable mobile internet connection and identity verification,” he said. The working prototype is ready and only needs a small scale test environment like a university and to that end “NECTEC is also interested in working with the Digital Government Agency.”

Thailand has been making steady progress in its blockchain industry of late. The latest includes the development of decentralized national digital IDs, a system once completed will enable all Thai citizens to have a flexible and highly secure method of self-identification. The project is currently in the test phase and plans for the full-scale launch is set for mid-year.

The country has also been exploring other areas of interest like commerce, agriculture, finance, and intellectual property where blockchain can be of use.

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