University Students Harness Blockchain for Elections Amid Lockdown

Malta University used a voting Dapp built by students to conduct elections in spite of the coronavirus lockdown.

Students enrolled in the University of Malta’s Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies masters program have built a decentralized application (Dapp) that has been used for voting in upcoming student representative elections, per a March 28 press release.

The Dapp is built on top of a decentralized digital identity platform that was provided to the students by Vodafone. The election was the first live project to be executed using Vodafone’s digital identity platform.

“We are pleased to have been the first use-case for the Vodafone [digital identity] platform, and as far as we can tell a world first to hold a student election on a blockchain, “ said Joshua Ellul, the director of the University of Malta’s Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies.

Malta University students build decentralized voting application

While the application was built to allow voters autonomous control over their data rather than relinquishing personal data to a centralized entity, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some of the advantages offered by remote voting platforms. Ellul stated:

“At this time especially, given the current situation, it was important to have a remote voting mechanism in place that enables trust and transparency thanks to the Blockchain-based solution.”

Ellul stated the biggest challenge to developing the platform was “onboarding users in a trusted manner,” adding that “digital identity platforms such as that provided by Vodafone provide a solution.”

Voting is private but transparent, meaning that the results of an election can be publicly verified.

The University of Malta introduced its blockchain masters course during October 2019.

New Malta government to continue fostering a ‘blockchain island’

Malta has long been a crypto-friendly jurisdiction. Whether that would remain the case appeared unclear when the now-former Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, resigned after facing widespread allegations of corruption and ties to the political assassination of a journalist.

While the new government-issued statements indicating that leading crypto exchange, Binance, is licensed in the country shortly after taking office, the new government has expressed that its position regarding blockchain has not changed for the time being. They added that it will seek to consolidate blockchain with other emerging industries under the umbrella of “Digital, Financial and Innovative services.”

Publication date: 
03/30/2020 - 04:00
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