The city of Zug in Switzerland will make Swiss history on June 25th when it tests the first blockchain-based vote.
Zug is also known as “Crypto Valley” for its cryptocurrency acceptance and numerous start-ups.
Between June 25th and July 1st, all owners of a Zug digital ID will be able to vote in a blockchain-based test poll. This pilot is a collaboration between the city and the Computer Science department at the Lucerne University of Applied Science.
The experiment will provide valuable information to the blockchain team on matters of security such as privacy, secrecy, immutability, testability, and traceability.
The vote is consultative, meaning it is not legally binding but can give the city council useful information on citizen needs, opinions, and wishes.
Voters will voice their opinions on fireworks at a festival and will express opinions about the Digital ID itself. More specifically about their voting experience using a digital ID and other potential applications. For example, using a digital ID for paying taxes, parking fees, and regular referenda.
The Digital ID
In November the city introduced the digital ID, which uses the Ethereum blockchain.
Since then over 200 people have registered by installing the “uPort” app on their smartphones and going through the registration procedure.
The uPort app creates a private key, unique to the smartphone, which interacts with the Ethereum blockchain. The user then digitally connects with the city by scanning a QR code on its website. Within two weeks they need to visit the city registration office for final in-person verification.
This method gives the user complete control of his identity and associated data. Additionally, there’s a mechanism that allows users to gain access to their digital IDs if they lose their phones.
This isn’t only digital ID pilot in Switzerland. The Canton Schaffhausen has just launched a blockchain-less digital ID which follows a test phase carried out since December. This will provide smartphones access to various government services.
Time will tell which is better.