Greenland is looking into blockchain technology for elections

Greenland is looking into blockchain technology for elections

Wednesday October 19 2022 4:12 PM

Greenland has drafted the Concordium Blockchain along with two top universities to study the possibility of using a blockchain-based electoral system.

The island nation, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is spending 3.6 million kroner (£420,000) investigating the use of technology that powers cryptocurrency to create an online voting system for its 56,500 residents.

The funds will be divided among the project partners ConcordiumCobra, Aarhus University, Alexandra Institute and University of Information Technology. Due to the law changing in 2020, many Greenlanders will likely have to cast their votes online in the upcoming national elections.

A group of researchers from Concordium Blockchain, University of Aarhus, Alexandra Institute, and University of Information Technology will investigate whether a blockchain-based system would be more trustworthy in electronic elections on the world’s largest island.

DIREC, a collaboration between computer science departments at eight Danish universities and the Alexandra Institute, awarded the group DKK 3.6 million for an ambitious project to maintain privacy and software-independent voting protocols. Greenland’s Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor Market and Home Affairs will work closely with the group on this.

“There are of course many advantages to online elections, but distrust and a lack of ready-made and secure solutions to regulation have prevented the vast majority of countries from moving forward,” said Kåre Kjelstrøm CTO at Concordium.

“In Greenland, where vast distances make it difficult for people to vote, an online solution is likely to increase voter participation, which is one reason why a law change in 2020 paves the way for the Greenland government to give Greenlanders the opportunity to cast their votes online. In the future “.

The goal is to give Greenland decision makers good conditions to decide what system they should use to conduct online elections, explained lead researcher at the University of Information Technology, Karsten Schurmann.

“From a research point of view, the project could also be valuable. Technologically, we are moving into unknown territory and depending on our results, you can easily imagine that many, many countries that can see the benefits of elections will be able to use our results as well.

“Finally, Greenland – with its limited population and vast distances – is an ideal place to start.”

Is blockchain the answer?

Bas Spitters, associate professor at Aarhus University and researcher at the Concordium Blockchain Research Center Aarhus, who is internationally recognized for his research related to the validation of blockchain technologies, sees great potential in the project.

“Electronic election protocols use a kind of bulletin board, and the blockchain can be used as a private and secure bulletin board,” he said.

They have already been used in secondary elections to ensure that voters can verify that their votes have been correctly registered. In this project we will explore if it can also be used in larger elections. In particular, we aim to verify that the protocols used to verify votes are inaccessible to outsiders and that they are secure.

“In addition, in cooperation with Concordium, we must investigate whether it is possible, by integrating MitID into the blockchain, to give voters the opportunity to identify themselves at the same time that their private information is protected.”

Carsten Schuermann, considered by many to be one of the world’s leading experts on election technology, has previously been a critic of the Internet. Nevertheless, he is convinced that online voting will become widespread in the coming years and realizes the importance of creating a trustworthy system for him, for which this project can create the best possible conditions.

“Blockchains provide some relatively new opportunities to create security and increase transparency, which could be really interesting when we’re talking about internet elections,” he added.

Through this project, we will concretely investigate how blockchain technologies can be used to reduce attacks on the electoral process, detect technical and human errors and maintain the secrecy of voting. We will do this by developing some protocols for a verifiable system, which we call software independent. “

#Greenland #blockchain #technology #elections

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *