Russia to Leverage Bitfury’s Enterprise Blockchain Solution, Exonum, for Impending July 1st Referendum
- Russian referendum elections to include Blockchain pilots in Russia's capital and Nizhny Novgorod.
- They will be supported by Bitfury's enterprise Blockchain solution, Exonum.
News has emerged of Russia's intent to leverage Blockchain tech for its upcoming referendum. They are to vote on whether the presidential term should be increased, allowing the president to serve for more than two, six-year terms. Initially, the referendum was originally set for April 22nd, however, it was pushed back to July 1st due to Coronavirus concerns.
Russia Launches Pilot Programs
They have established that Moscow and the Nizhny Novgorod regions as where the Blockchain pilot programs will be utilized. The dwellers of the two areas will be afforded the alternative of balloting electronically, unlike other areas that will have to make do with the legacy paper polling.
The Moscow's Department of Information Technologies has highlighted on their official page that they will be designing the electronic election system. There is, however, mention of Kaspersky labs as the developer of the system.
This will be supported by Bitfury's Enterprise Blockchain solution, Exonum. Operating on Proof of Authority concept, the smart contract for the ballot registry will be tasked with vote tallying and storage. Once voting is complete, tallied votes be deciphered, and results published.
Bitfury, through their spokesperson, was not keen to clarify their role in the project. They, however, highlighted that Blockchain-based voting was one of the main scopes of their enterprise Blockchain. Exonum was launched way back in 2017 as an open-source Blockchain solution. They, however, rolled out Exonum enterprise on December 5th last year. This new solution was tailor-made to suit the needs of corporations and governments due to its scalable nature, a feature not present on their open-source model. Just a few of the partnerships include; South Korean Hospitals, and Longenesis Blockchain Medical Data Marketplace.
Russia's Love on Blockchain Voting
Notably, this not Russia's first attempt at Blockchain polling.
On September 8th, 2019, residents of three districts in the Russian capital were extended the option of balloting electronically supported by Blockchain voting solution. They reported a 92.3% turnout translating to almost 10 396 Muscovites.
However, upon further inspection of the system by Pierrick Gaudry, a French cryptographist determined that the system was indeed vulnerable to hacking attacks. According to him, although the system was built on an almost impenetrable Ethereum Blockchain, the encryption system adopted by the creators of the program was flawed.
Experts Remain Skeptical on E-voting
Industry experts remain skeptical of the feasibility of electronic voting let alone a Blockchain-based solution. Blockchain researcher, Sergey Tikhomirov citing the Moscow elections was opined that with no technical method of viewing the data, the system was vulnerable to tampering by the administrators.
“Unlike with the paper ballots, in this case, the forgery leaves no trace,” Sergey Tikhmirov.