A group of Ukrainian officials signed a memorandum late last week to move multiple levels of elections to the Ethereum blockchain using E-vox, a platform developed by a group of companies including Ambisafe, Distributed Lab, and Kitsoft. The goal of this memorandum is to create "a decentralized, transparent and accessible system for group decisions making [sic] via blockchain-based instruments" for political primaries, elections and online petitions or referenda.
This new platform could serve as a beacon of transparency and accountability in a polarized country ravaged by the "Revolution of Dignity" a series of protests against corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud that occured in February 2014.
The list of signatories includes the head of the state agency for e-government, the Head of IT of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, an adviser to the president of Ukraine, a group of NGOs, and blockchain companies such as Ambisafe, Vareger Group, Distributed Lab and KitSoft.
While most blockchain and Bitcoin election platforms employ colored coins, E-vox will rely on smart contracts in order to fulfill a number of Ukrainian legal requirements. By involving major players in the Ukrainian government early in the process, Ambisafe CEO Andrey Zamovskiy doesn't feel regulations or laws will hinder the implementation of E-vox.
"The political actors participating in the negotiations and signing of the memorandum fuel our confidence that regulation won’t be an issue,” Zamovskiy said in a recent interview.
The platform will first be tested with generally unregulated types of elections, such as petitions and advisory votes. "As soon as the technology is worked off, the legislation will be respectively amended," according to Zamovskiy.
E-vox will work to integrate itself with current election platforms already used in Ukraine. The project is coordinated by Oleksii Konashevych and Gavid Kiziria. The back end of already-functioning Ukrainian city council petition websites which are operated by KitSoft will be moved to the blockchain. In addition, Ambisafe is currently working on another online platform for nationwide elections and a mobile app.
To prevent voter fraud, E-vox will integrate multiple types of identity verification based on the poll or election, including government-issued digital signatures and bank-issued digital signatures called BankIDs, which are managed by Ukraine's three largest banks. Petitions and other less-strict types of polls will use phone number verification. National polls will use payment kiosks, found in bank branches and stores around Ukraine, to collect votes in person.
In a country that was torn apart by allegations of voter fraud and the subsequent protests, Ambisafe and E-vox are hoping to provide transparency for disenfranchised voters and make Ukraine the first to adopt a blockchain platform for both local and national elections.