Swiss town votes via blockchain, while blockchain bank tools up
zug completes blockchain voting trial

Swiss town votes via blockchain, while blockchain bank tools up

A Swiss town votes on blockchain, while BABB – the self-styled ‘World Bank for the microeconomy’ – is gearing up for 2019 launch. Malek Murison rounds up two of the latest developments in blockchain this week.

Swiss town votes on blockchain

Most high-profile applications of blockchain technology are financial in nature. These range from cryptocurrencies to institutional trials – whether that be Poland’s shifting of credit records onto a decentralised ledger, or Microsoft and EY’s blockchain-based royalty settlement solution.

But there’s no reason why the underlying technology – which ensures a degree of anonymity and, most importantly, immutability – cannot be applied to other challenges.

One of those is the process of voting. The time-tested method of marking a cross and casting papers into a ballot box could be due for a revamp, if an experiment in Switzerland is anything to go by.

The Swiss town of Zug announced this week that it has completed the country’s first vote using a blockchain platform.

Zug’s blockchain voting trial

As a country with frequent consultatory votes, Switzerland – in particular its towns and municipalities – is an ideal place to test blockchain voting solutions, which could keep votes anonymous and secure, while removing the risk of tampering, duplicates, and counting errors.

For Zug’s test run, citizens were asked to vote on a made-up issue using their smartphones, combining the use of a blockchain to record the results with the city’s existing electronic ID system, which provides each citizen with a unique digital identity.

“The premiere was a success,” Zug communications chief Dieter Müller told the Swiss News Agency. Although the number of participants was not high – less than 250 – there were no complications and the process was deemed to be simple to use.

Clearly, the challenge is that any meaningful test would need to be carried out at a much larger scale. Either way, the next phase will be an analysis of how successful the blockchain was at handling electronic votes, said Müller.

UK fintech startup ready to build banking solution

Meanwhile, London fintech startup BABB has revealed that it is employing the resources of mobile developer Intellectsoft in its push to finalise its BABB application and blockchain platform in time for public release in Q1 2019.

BABB, the self-styled ‘World Bank for the microeconomy’, is building a decentralised banking platform that will combine blockchain, AI, and biometrics in a bid to bank the ‘unbanked’, offering anyone in the world access to a bank account for peer-to-peer financial services.

As well as building a platform with the aim of democratising emerging technologies, BABB is seeking to obtain a UK banking licence – a move that, if successful, would make it the UK’s first regulated blockchain-based bank.

BABB CEO Rushd Averroes admitted that there are challenges in building a secure, peer-to-peer blockchain application that could serve users all over the world. “The BABB project is technically ambitious,” he said.

“We now have an entire team of people at Intellectsoft who are dedicated to this project and who have the capability to support us. This partnership will assist us with a thoughtful, step-by-step delivery of the app to make the BABB vision a reality.”

To be successful, BABB will have to build a platform that is both scalable, secure, and user-friendly. The idea is that, as well as relying on facial recognition software for user identification – a challenge in itself – users can also refer and verify friends and family.

Intellectsoft CEO Michael Minkevich said: “We are excited about this partnership with BABB. Unlike many companies operating in the emerging blockchain space these days, our colleagues at BABB are approaching the fundamental aspects of the platform design, such as security and scalability, very seriously”.

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