Blockchain Voting System Trialled By Japan’s Tsukuba City

Blockchain, News | September 4, 2018 By:

The Japanese city of Tsukuba has trialled a blockchain-powered voting system, according to a news report by the Japan Times.

Tsukuba, a city located in Ibaraki Prefecture, is known as the location of the Tsukuba Science City, which represents one of the world’s largest coordinated attempts to accelerate the rate of and improve the quality of scientific discovery. Over the past several decades, nearly half of Japan’s public research and development budget has been spent in Tsukuba.

Tsukuba is the first Japanese city to test an online voting system powered by blockchain technology. The city completed the trial on August 28 with 119 votes gathered for several social contribution projects. The city used My Number identification system, a 12-digit ID number issued to all citizens of Japan including foreign residents, to verify voters’ credentials. Blockchain was used to prevent any sort of meddling in the voting process and to avoid the falsification of results.

“I had thought it would involve more complicated procedures, but I found that it’s minimal and easy,” Tsukuba Mayor Tatsuo Igarashi said after casting a vote using the system.

However, the blockchain voting trial wasn’t a complete success. The report stated that a number of voters forgot their passwords and that it was difficult to tell whether a vote has been counted.

“Due to fears of errors, administrative organizations and election boards are likely to find it difficult to introduce these (systems),” said Tohoku University Prof. Kazunori Kawamura, who is familiar with the subject of online voting. “It’s necessary to first enhance their reputation by using it for voting by expatriates,”

Different cities all over the world have also turn blockchain to ensure that digital elections remain secure. In July, Zug, an affluent municipality and town in Switzerland known as Crypto Valley, successfully completed its first blockchain-based municipal voting. Last month, West Virginia announced that it will be rolling out a blockchain voting app for its midterm elections in November.