The South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT has announced plans to develop a blockchain-based voting system.

The news was reported today (Nov 28) by ZDNet.

The project is the result a collaboration between the National Election Commission (NEC) and the Ministry of Science and ICT and will start trials next month in the private sector.

This isn’t the first time that NEC has been involved in digital voting systems. Back in 2013, NEC created an online voting system named K-voting. Although K-voting has been used by an impressive 5.64 million people, there is insufficient trust in the system due to hacking and fraud threats.

According to the South Korean government, the new system will bring increased transparency and security to the voting process. There will be user authentication mechanisms and votes will be saved on the ledger, allowing voters to monitor voting results as they happen. Voting will be conducted exclusively through smartphones or computers.

The system will be used to gather responses for surveys conducted by Seoul National University’s Blockchain Society and Korea Internet and Security Agency.

After the end of the trials, NEC will decide whether the system is ready to be used by a wider audience. NEC is also planning to upgrade the blockchain voting system by incorporating “artificial intelligence, big data, and IoT technology.”

Benefits of Blockchain-based Voting

As progressive as it sounds, South Korea is not the first country to realize the benefits of blockchain technology for voting. Just this month Thailand’s Democrat Party became the first political party to use blockchain technology to elect its leaders in a primary election. Tsukuba in Japan and West Virginia in the U.S are also pionering blockchain-based voting systems.

Elevated levels of corruptions are a common theme among many third world countries. Distributed ledger technologies have the potential to make voting transparent and secure, thus ensuring that no central authority can directly influence the voting process.