Uruguay may be a small country in South America with a population of just 3.5 million, sandwiched between Argentina and BrazilL: but it has found fame on the world stage for progressive policies (and superstar soccer players – the country won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950, and has finished fourth twice).
It was also the first sovereign state in the world to legalize recreational cannabis use, a process that turned out to be significantly hampered by the U.S. and its banks.
Former president Jose Mujica was named ‘the world’s poorest president’ due to his humble lifestyle and personality.
With this background, it’s no surprise that one of Uruguay’s parties decided to introduce blockchain voting for its internal decision-making, based on the æternity platform.
Collaborating with the project, the Uruguay Digital Party wants to optimize citizen participation processes in its voting. The initiative seeks to render decisions more transparent, allowing citizens and Digital Party members to contribute in the governance process of their community.
Æternity will assist the UDP in two main areas. The first phase of the project is developing a decentralized application that would apply the ‘liquid democracy’ model, a hybrid between direct and representative democracy that is also the core principle of Cardano’s governance.
An equally important task is to develop a technological solution for collecting and validating identities, while maintaining the overall anonymity of users. This will give citizens the safety to propose and vote on ideas, while at the same time preventing fraud through blockchain encryption and verification techniques.
The CEO of Æternity Americas, Pablo Coirolo, is confident in the project’s experience with public voting.
“The application of democratic governance that will be implemented by the Digital Party is based on the internal governance solution that aeternity uses for internal community decision-making, which is a completely new architecture, allowing greater participation of citizens in political decisions at all levels, with unalterable reliability,” he notes.
“This is an important milestone on the road to the massive use of blockchain technology to benefit democratic institutions.”
Blockchain voting is not without its critics, however. Many security researchers believe that blockchain or not, digitizing the voting process exposes it a whole new level of tampering techniques that traditional paper ballots will never have to suffer.
Case in point: the Moscow city government introduced an Ethereum-based smart contract for voting this summer, which was easily cracked by a white hat researcher.
Nevertheless, æternity seems well-positioned for this job, and the experience obtained through this blockchain voting pilot will be contribute to making it more secure.