Zug, a city in Switzerland's Crypto Valley, completed its first blockchain-based municipal vote on July 2, 2018, the Swiss News Agency reports. Hailed as a “success” by local officials, the vote was held using a trial digital ID system announced in June of this year. City authorities, who have issued digital identities to residents since 2017, are currently evaluating different applications of blockchain technology for governance.
The votes, which were placed through a mobile app, allowed residents with digital IDs to provide feedback on matters such as the inclusion "of fireworks at the annual Lakeside Festival, and whether they think digital IDs should be used to borrow books from the library or pay parking fees."
Residents were also asked if the blockchain digital ID system should frequently be used for referendum votes in the future.
According to the head of communications for the city, Dieter Müller, “the premiere was a success,” and there will be an evaluation of the exercise's technical details in the coming months with a focus on privacy and voting secrecy, as well as on ensuring results are verifiable for future elections.
Still, Müller was not too happy about voter turnout, believing more citizens could have taken part. Out of 240 total voters who registered, only 30 percent participated in the trial. “The number of participants could have been higher,” he conceded.
Müller revealed that while most of the residents found it easy to vote using their smartphones, a small fraction of voters still had difficulty with the process. The exercise also revealed other meaningful use cases the city can explore for the digital ID system, such as using the technology for parking fee payments and tax returns.
Zug is a hotspot for cryptocurrency and blockchain companies known for its low taxes and favorable cryptocurrency laws. This blockchain-friendly city is home to a cluster of cryptocurrency businesses and foundations, including the Ethereum Foundation, Tezos Foundation, ShapeShift and Xapo.