Bitcoin, the alternative to currency taking the Internet by storm, now may move to another mission. Some advocates want to translate the technology into online voting. Advocates promise a utopian voting scheme driven by smartphones and apps that can overcome all the inherent vulnerabilities to classic e-voting thanks to Bitcoin’s un-hackable code. But the reality is that total security and anonymity online is a virtual impossibility (pun intended) – and both are absolutely crucial to a fair and reliable election. Bitcoin might be the world’s first viable digital currency; it exists entirely in electronic form, and is regulated by a market of online buyers and sellers, rather than a nation and a central bank. As a currency, it is an intriguing experiment. As the foundation of a democratic election, it quickly loses its luster.
Hacking is part of any Internet technology. Bitcoin cyber-attacks can take two forms—hacking Bitcoin itself or hacking the sites where users store their bitcoins. Imagine a crook deciding whether to rob a bank or take over the U.S. Mint: One gives you access to the money in the vault, the other allows you to make entirely new money. Bitcoin-proper has not been hacked yet, but that’s not to say the technology is totally secure. Bitcoin bank heists have led to hundreds of millions of dollars in Bitcoins vanishing overnight.
Enthusiasts tout the underlying security of Bitcoin itself, but even if the core software is never penetrated, all transactions must take place over the same hackable networks that left Target vulnerable. In a voting context, even if nobody cracks your actual vote, an able hacker (or foreign governments) could disrupt its transmission. In a worst-case scenario, a fundamental flaw might be discovered in the Bitcoin software somewhere down the line that exposes votes themselves to tampering. Consider that the “catastrophic” Heartbleed bug at the core of the Internet itself went undetected for years, exposing individuals’ passwords and private data.
Full Article: Bitcoin Voting and the Myth of the Un-Hackable Election.