A Swiss city is set to conduct a DLT-powered municipal vote this summer according to a regional news outlet. If the vote is successful, the technology will likely be applied on a larger scale. Residents will be able to vote using their smartphone, and the vote will use the city’s existing electronic identification (eID) System. The eID system is itself a pilot project on a decentralized database and gives access to tax, employment, traffic, child protection, planning, and other essential services.
The vote is set to take place between June 25th and July 1st, 2018, and it should be noted that the results of the vote are non-binding for authorities. It is merely a test vote to see how well received DLT will be in the voting process. However, the Swiss government is eager to boost electronic voting in the country, expecting two third of cantons to have offered electronic voting by the end of 2019. Aside from voting on municipal affairs, residents will also be asked for their opinion on using the technology, so the municipal vote is also serving as an opinion gathering survey.
Zug, the city, has been given the name “Crypto Valley” due to the welcoming nature of its policies towards blockchain-based companies. It is already home to a number of different blockchain-related startups and accepts cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for a variety of goods and services. In Europe, only the Baltic states have comparable levels of blockchain infrastructure and development to Switzerland.
Since June 6th, blockchain companies have been able to open business accounts through privately owned Swiss bank, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg. This can be contrasted with countries like Chile and Colombia where cryptocurrency exchange accounts are being closed by banks, with court cases ensuing. Already regarded as a bastion of fiat financial safety, Switzerland seems to be aiming for the same dominance in a new era of cryptographical finance.
Earlier this year, the world’s first blockchain-based commercial bonds were launched in Russia by state-owned Sberbank, using the Fabric Hyperledger. Recently, a Crypto-based floating island project has been announced in the Pacific with the collaboration of the government of French Polynesia. Berkley, California, could soon become the first city to apply DLT to municipal bonds, and on March 7th in the country of Sierra Leone, DLT was used to store votes in an election where they could instantly be counted and viewed. It is possible that we will see DLT in the majority of first world electoral processes by 2020, with Switzerland leading the way. It will be interesting to see if it is in place for the 2020 US presidential election.
Digital Nomad with an interest in Zen and Blockchain technology.
Law graduate with 3 years experience as a consultant in the capital markets industry and 4 years experience freelancing on UpWork as a Creative Writer.