Satoshi NakaVoto: Japanese City Experiments With Blockchain Voting

Avi Rosten

A new blockchain-powered voting system has been trialled in the Japanese city of Tsukuba.

According to the report in the Japanese Times, the system allows voters to vote via a computer display after undergoing a verification procedure and is secured via the use of blockchain technology to prevent the data “from being falsified or read.”

Trialled for the selection of proposals on local social projects, the city, just north-east of Tokyo, believes this to be the country’s first use of such a blockchain system for voting.

A major hub for scientific and tech research - the city is home to Intel’s headquarters - it is perhaps unsurprising that it is leading the way in incorporating the tech, with mayor Tatsuo Igarashi explaining:

 

“I had thought it would involve more complicated procedures, but I found that it’s minimal and easy,”

 

The new system has not been without its hiccups, however. Many voters could not remember the passwords, and it was difficult to ascertain whether votes had been counted.

Blockchain advocates however, will note that the problems experienced by voters had little to do with the blockhain tech per se - and were issues more to do with the use of any kind of digital voting interface.

As other jurisdictions globally look to the tech for its potential in voting - with the US state of West Virginia set to make use of blockchain in their midterm November elections - this latest trial again attests to the increasing penetration of blockchain into the mainstream, and above all will encourage those in regions where electoral fraud remains a serious problem.

 

Featured Image Credit: "Tsukuba Center & Mt.Tsukuba" by "On-Chan" via Wikimedia Commons; licensed under "CC BY 3.0"