TECHNOLOGY

Corrupt Politicians, Beware: This Blockchain Start-up is Set to Disrupt The Way People Vote

Horizon State seeks to revolutionize the elections by using blockchain technology to create a secure digital ballot

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BY Tricia V. Morente - 30 Oct 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Global political unrest sparked by events like the possibility of Russian interference in the last American elections are leading people to question the political process now more than ever.

In developing nations where persistent issues plague the voting process—blatant corruption and, despite technological advances, an annoying and cumbersome voting process—public trust in voting is possibly eroding. Voter apathy is set to rise as individuals feel that the process of voting is too arduous and are unable to see how their own vote can make a significant difference.

Horizon State hopes to revolutionize the way people vote and make decisions by utilizing the blockchain to create a secure digital ballot. According to co-founder Jamie Skella, the aim is to use the blockchain to add security and transparency to the voting process, with applications ranging from governments to public and private organizations.

“We need better shared decision making tools and processes in almost every facet of our community lives. We need them to be transparent and trusted, allowing deliberation and inclusion, removing barriers rather than stacking them up. We need better mechanisms to become informed, to deliberate, and to collectively make decisions in regards to shared resources,” Skella says.

'Blocking’ corruption

Technical obstacles have previously prevented society from achieving a better voting system. But the blockchain could be the game changer in electoral processes everywhere. For one, it takes away the need for voters to cast their votes at a polling station.

An immutable public ledger, trustless, and may be inspected by all, the blockchain lends itself perfectly to casting votes. By using a distributed ledger, Horizon State will deliver a digital ballot box that cannot be hacked, results that can never be altered, and voter identities that are protected. These counts can happen in perpetuity, as results are permanently retained on the blockchain and can never be changed. This allows voters to verify their own vote while maintaining their anonymity, leading to a system that is quicker, more convenient, and much cheaper than current centralized voting processes.

For the first time in history, voters have a perfectly secure record of vote results, thanks to distributed ledger technology.

Proof of concept

As a real-world example, Australia conducted a non-compulsory postal vote on September 12, 2017, costing taxpayers over AUD$120 million dollars. Considering the 15.7 million eligible and active voters in Australia, this equated to a cost of AUD$7.70 per vote. Meanwhile the cost of a federal election has risen to AUD$227 million, or $15 per vote.

Horizon State’s blockchain voting solution fares significantly better when compared to traditional voting systems. Their cost per vote—excluding the cost of initial platform development—remains less than AUD$0.50. By Utilizing Horizon State’s blockchain voting platform, the time it takes to deliver and “count” results will be drastically reduced from months to days, or even hours.

Horizon State has partnered with SAP Next-Gen to present a token-based blockchain voting and decision-making platform. Other traction includes a pilot planned with a global NGO, partnership discussions with Bancor, Hollywood studios, and United Nations IGOs.

The Horizon State platform operates through the use of Decision Tokens (HST). These are used for running the decision and voting processes by providing the “gas” for voting and other services within the ecosystem. As of press time, Horizon State has raised USD$350,000, and are looking to raise an additional $2.5m+ through an initial coin offering (ICO), which closes tomorrow, 31 October 2017.

While the company is currently Australia-based, Skella says there are plans to expand to Japan, South Korea, and Singapore after the ICO. “We’re also having conversations with developing nations in Asia about the use of our technology to help eradicate corruption in election results, and providing accountability and transparency in company processes,” he ends.