Japan’s “Blockchain City” Explores a Blockchain-Based Voting System

Secure voting systems have long been slated as a possible use case for blockchain technology. In practice, though, blockchain-based voting systems have been few and far between. However, recently, a Japanese blockchain firm known as LayerX is partnering with digital identity application xID to create a blockchain voting system for the city of Kaga in southwestern Japan.

The development of the new voting system is the latest development of Kaga’s so-called ‘Blockchain City’ initiative that was announced in May of 2018.

LayerX says that it is building the system to address the need for lower-cost, higher-security digital voting systems in the region: “Voting over the Internet presents more challenges, such as preventing double voting, technical hurdles to keep ballots secret, and the cost of voting devices,” the company said in an announcement.

“LayerX researched and developed an electronic voting protocol that balances the transparency of the voting process and the confidentiality of voting records.”

The partnership with xID will reportedly strengthen the company’s existing voting system by improving its identity verification procedure and ensuring that each person receives only one digital ballot.

Additionally, LayerX will reportedly allow voters to check their own voting results and verify that their vote was recorded and counted properly.

”If We Do Not Promote Leading-Edge Initiatives and Create New Industries, We Will Disappear.”

Kaga’s ‘Blockchain City’ initiative was reportedly launched in order to combat population decline in rural areas by incentivizing public and private-sector firms to embrace technological innovation.

“A population which exceeded 80,000 people in the late 1980s has been decreasing, and we have been labeled as a disappearing city,” explained Riku Miyamoto, Mayor of Kaga City, to Microsoft in January 2019. “Our existing industries are obviously important, but we are facing a crisis; if we do not promote leading-edge initiatives and create new industries, we will disappear.”

This is not the first time that LayerX has announced the development of a blockchain voting system in Tsukuba, another Japanese city, as part of the municipality’s ‘smart city’ initiative.

While blockchain-based voting systems are unlikely to achieve widespread adoption in the near future, blockchain-based voting systems could one day be used to assuage concerns of voter fraud in countries like the United Staes.


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