A DLT-based electoral process of over 120,000 Thai citizens has been a huge success. The Thailand Democrat Party has become the worlds first major political party to carry out a primary election solely using DLT. The vote took place between November 1st and November 9th and was facilitated by the Zcoin blockchain, which is becoming popular in Thailand.
IPFS and Zcoin in Thailand
The Thai opposition party used the Interplanetary File System (IPFS), a decentralized file storage mechanism, which added an extra layer of security to the vote. Voters could upload a photo ID on an application or vote at a booth powered by a Raspberry Pi system. The IPFS system stored encrypted data packages, and these were then stored on the Zcoin blockchain. Once on the blockchain, the records are unalterable and publicly viewable. Founder of Zcoin Poramin Insom stated that –
“I believe we’ve achieved a huge milestone in our country’s political history and hope that other political parties or even the government not just in Thailand but in the region can look to using blockchain technology in enabling large-scale e-voting or polling.”
Before, a mere 250 MPs would select the leader of the party, but for the first time over 120,000 were able to take part in the electoral process. IPFS and Zcoin have both recently been used to store a politically sensitive piece of music called “Rap Against Dictatorship” after threats of censorship. Zcoin is a privacy-based cryptocurrency working off of the Zerocoin protocol using zero-knowledge cryptographic proofs. The Zcoin network allows users to send coins without any transaction history and thus no way for identities to be tracked on the blockchain.
DLT to replace paper voting
Thailand is not the first country to consider using DLT to enhance its voting processes. The ability to securely vote from anywhere in the world with unalterable records is not to be taken lightly. The reality is that a paper ballot is archaic given the technology at hand. It is slow, inaccessible for those abroad, costly, and insecure. There are also the issues of counting errors as well as paper ballot fraud. Paper voting is being replaced with digital voting, but the question remains as to how long the transition will take.
Estonia has had electronic voting since 2005, and in the 2015 parliamentary election over 30% of the vote was carried out using the nations i-voting system. Zug, the crypto valley of Switzerland, has trialed a municipal vote using DLT, and the country of Sierra Leone has also used the technology to store votes securely. The US state of West Virginia is also investigating the use of a blockchain voting application for Federal election ballots.
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.