Agora Voting Startup Introduces Blockchain-Powered Elections
Agora, a voting startup company, has reportedly helped Sierra Leone conduct what appears to be the very first blockchain-powered presidential election. Notably, the citizens of the west African country have had to endure a devastating Civil War that lasted from 1991 to 2002. Due to the war, over 50,000 lives were lost and most of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed. In addition, millions of Sierra Leoneans were displaced, as they were forced to migrate to nearby countries because of terrible living conditions.
Now, it seems that there is finally some good news for this poverty-stricken country. That’s because Agora managed to facilitate a highly contested election between 16 candidates in a manner that could have eliminated voter fraud. The company accomplished this by setting up a private, permissioned blockchain that tracked the election’s voting process in real time. According to the voting startup, this approach allowed for greater transparency by ensuring that voting is conducted via a purely democratic process, without any corruption.
Facilitating A Transparent Election Process
Moreover, the voting first began by using paper ballots; and, votes are now being manually counted and recorded on a blockchain by Agora’s employees. They claim to be doing this in an honest and unbiased way. While discussing the innovative approach, Jaron Lukasiewicz, chief operating officer at Agora, stated:
“You’re looking at a country that you probably wouldn’t normally expect to be the first to use transparent voting tech. A country like Sierra Leone can ultimately minimise a lot of the fall-out of a highly contentious election by using software like this.”
Given these developments, it seems that Sierra Leone has finally made history in a good way by apparently being the world’s first country to conduct national elections using blockchain technology.
Agora’s Proprietary “Skipchain” Technology
This also marks the first time that Agora’s blockchain services, which the company calls “Skipchain” technology, have been tested during an actual election. According to reports, Agora specifically chose a country like Sierra Leone to test its blockchain-based voting software because it has been plagued with rampant corruption, violence, fraudulent activities and reportedly rigged and controversial elections. Hopefully, if Agora manages to successfully facilitate a legitimate national election in Sierra Leone, then it could potentially help many other countries bring more transparency to their election process.
There’s likely to be a fair amount of opposition that Agora could face while trying to implement its voting software, because it would interfere with the corrupt practices of the ruling “elite.” Despite having to deal with challenges, Agora says that it plans to assist other countries in conducting elections using its transparent, blockchain-powered voting system.