The 2016 U.S. election-meddling scandal resulted in growing skepticism around vote-counting and the technology — or lack thereof — that underpins it.
Mistrust among voters is often compared to skepticism with the blockchain technology. But for voters, it could a case of all or none.
Cleveland-based Votem Corp. announced Monday it had launched a new Proof of Vote Protocol that hopes to improve the voting process by using blockchain technology. By utilizing the blockchain, the company said voting will become more transparent, more verifiable and increase trust.
“Trust is the biggest part of any election, and if there is no trust in a democratic election, it becomes inherently undemocratic,” said Aleck Silva-Pinto, a spokesman at Votem.
Amidst all the jargon and skepticism, blockchain-based voting remains a mystery to some. But for Silva-Pinto it is easily simplified.
“People are provided with a private key so they can see when they voted and if it was counted. It’s like tracing an Amazon package to your doorstep,” he said.
While the rising notion of blockchain-based voting is largely associated with public elections, Votem sees the technology also improving the private sector and other voting outlets — areas they have already explored.
In 2015, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vote for the 2016 inductees was hit with a scandal. After allowing fans to vote for the first time, the number of votes increased 100 million from the previous year, with some suspecting that bots had played a role in weighing the vote for a number of bands. In response, the hall of fame turned to Votem to conduct its online fan vote using the blockchain in hope of weeding out the bots.
“We ran their election . . . and since 2017 there were 1.8 million votes cast for the hall of fame vote,” said Silva-Pinto.
Votem has tallied over 8.2 million votes since its inception, which is the most votes tallied on a blockchain, according to Silva-Pinto.