Sierra Leone conducted their presidential voting on a Blockchain platform. This is a first in any country of the world.
The voting was done on a platform developed by Agora, a Swiss-based Blockchain firm. At the closing of the votes on Wednesday, 280 accredited observers separated in 280 locations throughout the Freetown (the country’s capital) region, manually entered the results of 400,000 ballots on the Blockchain.
Although this is a great victory for the Blockchain technology, many elements show that the technology is not 100% ready for full blown elections.
First off, since many of the technological aspects of the Agora platform are currently patent-pending, their Blockchain is not 100% open-source. This is a big deal for Blockchain purists, especially in a political Blockchain application, where transparency should be the first priority.
Also, although Agora was accredited by Sierra Leone’s National Election Committee (NEC), they did not count all of the country’s votes. The SEC’s count will be the official result while Agora is providing an independent result to make comparisons to the official one.
Leonardo Gammar, Agora’s CEO, mentioned,
“These are the final results from Agora to the Western area. The NEC is going to have its own results. Other observers are going to have their own results.”
In the future, Agora plans to conduct full electoral voting on their platform, where all votes will be fully open-source and auditable.
“We were accredited by the NEC to do this, to do a study in the Western area. If they like how it works, if they’re happy with everything, they’ll make it wider next time, and they’ll back us more and more,” said Gammar.
A statement by the European Union Election Observation Mission had positive words for the electoral procedures in Sierra Leone,
“While the tallying is still ongoing and should be finalized in full transparency, the EU expects all parties to respect credible electoral results and to use existing mechanisms to address grievances.”