A think tank run by the European Parliament recently released a discussion paper on the use of bitcoin and blockchain technology in elections, analyzing the topic through the broader lens of electronic voting.
Published on 29th September, the paper was authored by Phillip Nicholas Boucher, a researcher for the European Union Think Tank. Boucher wrote that adoption would represent a major shift in how trust is managed within the voting process, moving that kind of control “away from central actors”, leading to “tech-enabled community consensus”.
The question, as the paper presents it, is whether the technology could be leveraged to provide either piecemeal or wholesale changes to existing voting systems, including those already operating via digital means.
“Many experts agree that e-voting would require revolutionary developments in security systems. The debate is whether blockchain will represent a transformative or merely incremental development, and what its implications could be for the future of democracy.”
The European Parliament isn’t alone in weighed the concept.
It’s an application that has been pursued in various forms in both the public and private sectors, with the idea being that a blockchain can allow users with software clients to signal preferences in distributed governance decisions.