Kenyans held nationwide elections on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, and the voting system intently mirrored the Bitcoin
blockchain. African governments have historically carried out chaotic elections rife with gross misconduct and outright vote rigging. The election, nevertheless, was essentially the most clear system I’ve ever seen or heard of, because of the Unbiased Electoral and Boundaries Fee of Kenya (IEBC).
The comparability between the Bitcoin blockchain and the Kenyan voting system utilized in August 2022 is spectacular. To start with, all polling stations have been distributed into 46,229 items, and votes forged in anyone polling station have been counted, signed, and accepted as a everlasting report. This compares to the Bitcoin community, which has an estimated 14,951 decentralized nodes unfold throughout the globe, in accordance with Bitcoin analytics agency Bitnodes.
The system combines each guide and digital transmission techniques to make sure safety. The Kenya Built-in Elections Administration System (KIE
MS) biometric system scans the QR-coded signed kinds from every polling station and sends the copy to the IEBC servers for evaluation and reporting. The bodily ballots in poll packing containers function the verification protocol, whereas the signed bodily kinds function the signed transactions.
The IEBC would then act as a 3rd occasion, accumulating and analyzing knowledge from these polling stations. This contains manually accumulating all signed voting kinds, verifying them with the returning officer and the digital copy, and tallying them inside seven days of the election to announce the official winners. On the time of writing, the IEBC had obtained and verified 46,193 of the 46,229 presidential election kinds and was awaiting the 36 remaining kinds in order that the election outcomes could possibly be introduced.
This compares with the benefit with which blockchain analytics corporations like Chainalysis are in a position to question knowledge from the Bitcoin blockchain and publish insights.
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The consensus mechanism is totally different from that of Bitcoin. Political occasion representatives would watch your complete poll casting course of inside a polling station instantly after the voting window closed, depend every vote and signal the report within the electoral system. This copy, as soon as signed, could be a everlasting report. The IEBC representatives would then ship an digital copy of the signed kind to the IEBC headquarters, adopted by the bodily kind to the identical location. To make sure transparency, occasion representatives would additionally ship a replica to their occasion headquarters.
If this copied Bitcoin, a signed copy of the shape could be despatched to different nodes to replace all copies.
Every polling station has a most of 700 registered voters. The variety of voters within the polling station could be both the quantity of people that voted or the quantity of people that voted earlier than the voting window closed. Which means that every report comprises 700 entries. Compared, Bitcoin’s block measurement is one megabyte per block.
To vote efficiently, a voter wanted to deliver an authentic copy of their nationwide ID card, go to their registered polling station, and sign up utilizing an IEBC biometric scanner. To signal a transaction in Bitcoin, one should have a public tackle (just like an ID card) and a non-public key (compares to fingerprints on the biometric scanner).
When the IEBC headquarters receives and verifies a kind from a polling station, the shape is printed on its website as an official copy. Voters, occasion representatives, the media, and aspirants can obtain and examine this knowledge to their very own copy from the polling station. They will additionally depend votes to find out election winners earlier than the IEBC releases the official outcomes.
This compares with the general public nature of the Bitcoin ledger, the place anybody can question any Bitcoin transaction and consider its tackle.
As soon as a voter indicators in to a polling station utilizing biometrics, the system sends an digital signature to the IEBC servers, notifying them that the citizen has voted. Whereas this solves the double voting downside, Bitcoin’s blockchain solves the double spending downside.
Votes are saved on the IEBC database within the voting system, and the person solely must signal them. That’s, each registered voter’s data is recorded, they usually solely go to the polling station on election day to signal that so and so are their most popular candidates. Bitcoins are saved on the ledger on the Bitcoin community, and also you solely use your personal keys to signal that your bitcoins be moved to a particular public tackle.
To win the Kenyan presidential elections, one should obtain 50% of the votes forged plus one. Which means that if somebody needed to steal the election, they must manipulate knowledge from 50% of the polling locations plus one. This may require a major funding when it comes to assets, however it will make sure the safety of the voting system.
If a number of individuals needed to hack the Bitcoin community, they would want to regulate 50% of the nodes plus one. This may necessitate a large assortment of assets, firmly establishing Bitcoin because the world’s most safe financial community.
If one area went offline or the voting course of was disrupted, different areas would nonetheless vote seamlessly, and the lacking knowledge could be appended as soon as the bottleneck was dealt with. In Bitcoin, if some miners or customers are offline, their cash are nonetheless on the chain and their transactions are appended to the blockchain as soon as they get on-line.
IEBC designed the system to attenuate belief and permit voters to confirm all data, whereas Bitcoin’s infrastructure is designed to get rid of belief and permit customers to confirm. In Bitcoin, collective nodes are the one level of failure, simply as collective polling stations are the one level of failure within the IEBC voting system.
On the Bitcoin community, as soon as a transaction is signed, it’s ultimate, verifiable and can’t be amended or reversed. Equally, as soon as the votes forged are recorded and signed, they’re ultimate, verifiable (you’ll be able to go and depend the contents of the poll field), and can’t be amended.
The distinction between the 2 is that IEBC high officers can change voter registration particulars and switch voters. There is no such thing as a single administrator in Bitcoin who can transfer Bitcoin or change transactions.
Moreover, the polling station biometric gadgets have the total register however can solely permit in voters registered for that particular location. In Bitcoin, one’s transaction may be signed by any node on the community. That is most likely an IEBC characteristic designed to make sure one doesn’t vote in a location they don’t stay in.
The vote data aren’t saved within the voter registration ledger. The KIEMS system shops the voter ledger and scans signed poll kinds whereas the votes stay of their respective poll packing containers. The Bitcoin ledger, alternatively, shops each the addresses and the Bitcoins.
Whereas it’s debatable whether or not the system designer was straight impressed by the Bitcoin community, the same options are compelling to conclude that they have been impressed by the Bitcoin blockchain. If you happen to needed a foolproof system with no single level of failure, the place else would you look?
Disclosure: I personal bitcoin and different cryptocurrencies.