- Sierra Leone becomes the first country to run a blockchain-powered election.
- Agora is the company responsible for the blockchain solution.
Sierra Leone: This is really a welcome development in the blockchain industry as Sierra Leone emerge as the first country in the whole world to run a blockchain-powered election. Sierra Leone utilized the blockchain solution to count the votes, and provide proof of the recently held elections in the country. Agora, a Switzerland based voting technology company is the developer of the blockchain solution.
The election was contested by 16 candidates. And Agora used their proprietary blockchain distributed ledger during the elections to keep track of the votes.
According to Leonardo Gammar, CEO at Agora, on March 7 in the company’s Telegram group as vote counting went on:
“Sorry for being silent the last days. The team is engaged in Sierra Leone’s presidential elections, and we are in Freetown with our partners, the European Commission, helping our blockchain node operators (Red Cross, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, University of Fribourg) audit today’s election results. We are proud to announce that our results in the western district are 2 hours ahead of the National Election Commission and all NGOs, with 86% tallied. I’ll get back to you later tonight with more.”
It is now evident that a blockchain-based solution that uses a publicly visible ledger for keeping track of elections can complement, or subsequently replace electronic voting machines. However, opposition politicians in the Democratic Republic of Congo are against the use of e-voting machines as they claim that they can be hacked and manipulated.
Gammar concluded by saying:
“First, people in Sierra Leone want to vote in peace and have hope. They are also very brave! There is no private transportation allowed so they had to take the buses to the polling centers which is quite a difficult task here. It has been humbling to see and take part in. I’d like to show my respect for our observers out here who has sometimes no choice but to walk for hours to take part in peaceful and transparent elections. I’ve learned that a country doesn’t need to have impressive infrastructures to start working towards democracy and technical improvements. I am grateful to Sierra Leone for showing the world how visionary they are and take the chance on us so we can continue to figure out how to build a custom blockchain for their governance needs. These challenges are where we find our strengths. If we can make it happen in SL we can make happen everywhere around the earth. Thank you Eran, see you soon!”
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