Three researchers with the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts (IC3) are questioning whether, as some proponents claim, blockchain technology will be able to change the internet voting sector for the better. In an article published by Business Insider, the scholars argue that while blockchain technology might serve to revolutionize other industries, internet voting might be a sector that doesn’t benefit from the technology at all, and could potentially even be harmed by it. The researchers start off by acknowledging that they understand why blockchain technology is being considered as an option to optimize internet voting. There is little doubt in the fact that the cryptocurrency world has attracted billions of dollars for legitimate reasons and that it has clear potential to revolutionize everything from the global payments sector, to logistics, to retail, to land ownership rights, among other sectors.
The immutable nature of blockchain means that one would naturally consider the fact that elections might be less susceptible to fraud if the technology is utilized. However, the three researchers argue that the basic issues with internet voting cannot be addressed, even by blockchain.
While voting from a smartphone seems like a logical technological development, many cybersecurity experts have pointed out that it’s much more complicated than one might believe. While the convenience of online voting might lead to more participation, many in the cybersecurity world come to the same conclusion as Ron Rivest, a professor at MIT and board member of Verified Voting. He said, “Voting is too important to put online.”
Blockchain technology is known to be extremely secure, but the researchers point out that this doesn’t mean that most hardware and software are not themselves vulnerable, security-wise. Of course, this doesn’t even take into account the fact that internet outages occur, as well.