Members' Research Service By / July 17, 2019

3 Key Questions on Blockchain voting

The techniques used by anti-democratic state and non-state actors to disrupt or influence democratic processes are constantly evolving. The use of algorithms, automation and artificial intelligence is boosting the scope and the efficiency of disinformation campaigns and related cyber-activities.

Blockchains are a remarkably transparent and decentralised way of recording lists of transactions. Their best-known use is for digital currencies such as Bitcoin, which announced blockchain technology to the world with a headline-grabbing 1000% increase in value in the course of a single month in 2013.

Despite the digitalisation of several important aspects of modern life, elections are still conducted largely offline, on paper. Since the turn of the century, e-voting has been considered a promising and, perhaps, inevitable development that could speed up, simplify and reduce the cost of elections. It has been seen as a potential means of increasing engagement and turnout, and even restoring links between citizens and political institutions. Using blockchain technology for e-voting could increase transparency while allowing more fluid and decentralised decision-making. It could even introduce new functionality such as ‘self-implementing manifestos’. Certainly, this could be useful for decision-making in many organisations, but could it work on a larger scale, for example, in the European elections?

Listen to Philip Boucher, an EPRS policy analyst, explaining the issues in 3 key questions on blockchain voting.

Or read more about “How blockchain technology could change our lives” in this in-depth analysis


Our “3 Key Questions on …” series of video interviews with our policy analysts include visual aids to getting a swift grasp of the policy challenges at hand. Take a look at the full series on YouTube.


 


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