The call for the day is online voting and this fact is completely proven to be true by Cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab. Recently, it has unveiled Polys, a secured online voting system based on blockchain technology and backed with transparent crypto algorithms, at the company’s annual Cybersecurity Weekend event in Dublin.
As per the Polys website, “[Online] voting imposes extremely stringent requirements on the security of every aspect of voting. We believe that the blockchain technology is the missing link in the architecture of a viable online voting system.”
Also, in this regard, Vartan Minasyan, Head of Investment and Innovation at Kaspersky Lab, regarded that, “In our Kaspersky Lab Business Incubator we’re supporting both internal and external teams in developing bright ideas and technologies, which can be implemented in various areas where safety and security are important. One such area is online voting and, when exploring the possible implementations of the blockchain, in particular, our team realized that this technology combined with the company’s cybersecurity expertise could solve key problems related to the privacy, transparency, and security of online voting. We’re excited that we have been able to create a suitable environment for this internal innovation”.
Initially, Kaspersky Lab had released a beta version of Polys with the hopes of getting an early feedback and monotonously developing an operational voting system that, according to the company, “will change the way people vote.”
Right at this moment, Once a vote has been created on the Polys dashboard, the administrators can now choose how to accept votes. Currently, the supported options available are email, unique codes, and public voting. In email voting, Polys sends an email to each voter with a secure voting link. In case of public voting, the voting link is open to everyone who can view it. A combination of online and offline voting can be implemented with secure codes, generated by Polys and sent to the users in electronic or printed format, which enable users to vote using either personal devices or public computers in voting kiosks.
Polys will be also supporting a desktop app to create a vote and a mobile app to actually vote. Besides the free dashboard, Polys will also offer a paid version that supports white-labeling, re-branding and integration options.
For now, votes can’t be changed by Polys or by the voters, but a Polys white paper is on the cards, which suggests countering the threats of vote trafficking and coerced voting by enabling voters to change their votes without much limitation.
The source code of Polys, based on Ethereum smart contracts, will be made available on GitHub. Cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab is leading Polys’s security development. With this, Parity Technologies, a company specialized in blockchain and peer-to-peer software for the decentralized web, will be supporting the project’s blockchain development.
To this, Jutta Steiner, co-founder of Parity Technologies, regarded that, “Parity Technologies is excited to be involved with Polys as their platform of choice for such an innovative project. Blockchain [technology] is increasingly being implemented by a vast number of industries, and we believe that decentralizing the voting procedure will ensure a fair process and create a high level of trust in the system”.
So, this Kaspersky Lab has mainly proposed for two typical use cases for Polys. Firstly, early-adopting environments such as universities, where students and faculty will be able to informally vote for classes and student councils, and secondly, tech-oriented “future cities” that need new solutions for conducting formal elections with speed, reliability, and trust.
With this, it has become clear that this blockchain-based online voting system is not limited to the Polys. It’s worth noting that Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), which can often be considered as demonstrators of future governance methods, have built-in voting systems based on blockchain technology, often implemented with Ethereum smart contracts.
Thus, it can be concluded that, in spite of blockchain voting having its flaws of delays and costs, it could be much faster and cheaper than traditional voting systems. Blockchain voting could enable governments to implement direct democracy with frequent consultations on a wide range of political and social issues.