Blockchain technology has been a prominent fixture in the United States General Election. While the technology won’t have a role to play in selecting the next Commander-in-Chief, it can at least give real-time updates on the process.
According to an official announcement, the Associated Press (AP) had inked a deal to provide election results directly to an immutable blockchain.
Improving Trust in the Electoral Process
As the report explained, the news source partnered with Everipedia, a blockchain-based encyclopedia, on the initiative. The encyclopedia will display results in real-time, thanks to its underpinning EOS blockchain infrastructure and additional help from blockchain project Chainlink.
Dwayne Desaulniers, the Director of Data Licensing at the Associated Press, explained to the news source that the initiative ensures their ability to blaze the trail for vote counting and declaring election winners. The company, which has been counting and reporting votes since 1984, explained that blockchain would help ensure greater transparency and trust in the electoral process.
A representative from Everipedia explained that the process would involve AP cryptographically signing its cryptographic keys to the company’s Chainlink-powered data oracle. Using the oracle, they will be able to connect the election results directly to a blockchain.
“This ‘oracle-as-a-service’ platform will be offered to industry-leading organizations to publish data feeds directly on the blockchain,” the representative explained, adding that it can also serve data publishing companies and help them to bolster their processes.
Blockchain Takes Baby Steps or Now
While this means that blockchain will play a part in the election process anyways, it’s still cold comfort – especially given that it could have played a more prominent role. The United States Postal Service (USPS) filed a patent for a blockchain-based voting system earlier this year, after fears that the Trump administration might cut its funding.
The conflict between the postal service and the government came on the backdrop of mail-in voting, which the White House believes to be fraudulent. Speaking to reporters, the President went as far as hinting that cutting funding to the postal service will help him win the war, as it would show once and for all that the postal service won’t be able to handle universal mail-in voting.
Although many believe that the President was merely trying to improve his re-election chances, the postal service wasn’t ready to take the risk. It filed the patent, explaining that blockchain incorporation will make mail-in voting safer than physical polling stations.
“This development relates to a voting system that also incorporates the use of cryptographic elements, such as blockchains, as are used with cryptographic currencies, to track and secure the vote by mail system,” the patent filing explained. Sadly, this blockchain-based voting system didn’t fly. The project received skepticism from tech experts, with most pointing out that it doesn’t particularly have long-term value.
Still, the fact that blockchain even got consideration is an encouraging sign that shows what the technology can possibly achieve in future elections.