On September 2, 2018, Tsukuba, a city in the Japanese Prefecture of Ibaraki introduced a municipal voting system built on blockchain technology.
This makes Tsukuba the first city in Japan to begin using a blockchain based voting system. The city is known for its technological university and wide adoption of new technology. The blockchain voting system was deployed through an online portal which combines with a personal identification number called My Number. This allows voting on public issues which can be done from a personal computer while ensuring the veracity of the identity of each voter.
Difficulties with Implementation
While the system has been implemented, several problems emerged. Most of these issues involved human error like voters forgetting their personal identification numbers. Other participants were also unsure if their vote had been counted. These issues are natural with the adoption and utilization of new technology, however its important that they are ironed out if wider use is anticipated.
Voting is an area where open ledger technology is seen as a revolutionary. Voter fraud and efficiency problems with current technology are issues which could be solved or reduced through the application of the technology. The 2016 global election cycle raised questions about the validity of modern voting systems and had many looking for another solution.
However, there is some anxiety around administrative errors, which makes wider adoption of the technology a hard sell for the rest of the country and the world at this time.
Benefits to Mass Adoption
One of the biggest benefits of blockchain voting systems is also seen as the path forward to proving the concept for the rest of the country. Because this technology allows for a greater degree of efficiency and safety in vote casting, it could be the perfect solution to creating a global system where Japanese expatriates can cast their ballot with an assurance that they will be counted among domestic voters.
At the moment, Tsukuba combined with an expatriate system could be the perfect path towards building the reputation of blockchain voting in Japan and around the world.
If Tsukuba can work out the difficulties faced with implementation and voter confidence, this could become one of the most important pilot projects in blockchain technology. Many municipalities and businesses have their eyes on open ledger voting for a better system to make the world’s most important choices.