Don’t you want to vote in the presidential elections and know that there wasn’t any fraud if you lose? If so, consider moving to Sierra Leone, as the world’s first blockchain presidential election has just taken place there. 

Blockchain technologies keep growing and proving to everyone that they are much more than just networks for cryptocurrencies. This week a new milestone in the evolution of this technology has been achieved thanks to the strategic alliance of Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission and Agora – a blockchain development company focused on the electoral sector.

The presidential elections that took place last week were carried out in a traditional way, the only difference being that as an initial test, at the western districts, Agora participated in these elections by invitation of the NEC, which accredited the Swiss company as an observer, according to Agora CEO Leonardo Gammar who explained in the official Telegram channel of the company. The executive disclosed the terms of the agreement:

“Agora’s team is involved in the Sierra Leone presidential elections, and we are in Freetown with our partner, the European Commission, helping the node operators of our blockchain (The Red Cross and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at the University of Freiburg) to audit today’s election results. We are proud to announce that our results in the western districts were ready two hours before the NEC and all NGOs, with 86% of the votes recorded.”

These would be the theoretically expected results, but so far no one has ventured to check them because of the strategic and delicate level of a presidential election.

The results obtained reveal the electoral behavior of the western districts and serve as support for a series of upgrades that could lead, in the very near future, to the complete migration towards a blockchain platform that allows a level of trust and efficiency which is impossible to guarantee in traditional systems (both electronic and paper-based).

According to the information provided in the White Paper, Agora takes its developer role in an area as important as the electoral one very seriously: They do not exercise any partisan approach, their product is designed to be politically transparent, and four layers of blockchain development ensure a voting process with unprecedented levels of quality:

“Agora has built a multi-layer architecture that is based on blockchain technology, which includes several innovations that have been developed by our team. Agora’s blockchain, called the Bulletin Board, is a distributed permission ledger based on the Skipchain architecture, which we have been developing since 2015. Data on our Bulletin Board is cryptographically tied to the Bitcoin blockchain through our Cotena layer, which provides a high level of immutability and decentralization of our data. The system we have architected provides high throughput capabilities and low overhead, which enables Agora to be run on low bandwidth devices.

3.1. Layers

Agora is composed of four technology layers: the Bulletin Board blockchain, Cotena, the Bitcoin blockchain and Votapp. These layers communicate with each other in various instances throughout the election process to provide a cryptographically secure voting environment with auditable proofs. A visualization of our technology layers is provided below.

Blockchain presidential election

Likewise, its voting system guarantees electors the virtues of a traditional blockchain: Immutability, anonymity, transparency, and speed:

“Agora’s voting process consists of six distinct steps, which together provide for a cryptographically verifiable voting solution that merits the confidence of voters and the wider public. Elections on Agora’s platform proceed according to the following steps:

  1. Configuration: Election administrators create a new election event.
  2. Casting: Voters cast their encrypted ballots to Agora’s network.
  3. Anonymization: Agora’s network anonymizes all voter ballots.
  4. Decryption: Agora’s network decrypts the anonymized ballots.
  5. Tallying: All votes are counted.
  6. Auditing: Auditors post their reviews confirming the validity of the election results.”

Blockchain presidential election

Unofficial results of the more than 400,000 ballots that were manually inputted into Agora’s blockchain system, can be compared to the official data official data.

However, although it is the world’s first blockchain presidential election with a national impact, other official electoral initiatives based on the blockchain have already been successfully carried out, such as the Active Citizen Platform of Russia, the municipal elections of South Korea’s Gyeonggi-do, and the announcement of Nasdaq to introduce a patent for vote authentication and election processing.

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Good times for Sierra Leone and voters worldwide – a blockchain presidential election marks the beginning of a future free of fraudulent voting and hopefully, a future without political discussions over electoral results is much closer than we think.

Featured Image: Twitter

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