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Russia's capital leads the charge for Blockchain's democracy

While Russia is accused of interfering in the 2016 US presidential election, its national capital plays a leading role in making democracy more transparent.

Using an existing program called Active Citizen, the city of Moscow allowed residents to vote for measurements ranging from the name of their new subway to the color of the seats in a new sports arena. But in order to allay people's concerns about the need to trust the city for vote counting, a private version of the blockchain ethereum has been added to the architecture of this project.

"Of course, we sometimes hear that all votes are unreliable," said Andrey Belozerov, the IOC's strategy and innovation advisor. "So we decided to use a blockchain for the Active Citizen project, as an electronic trust platform."

The ethereum-based platform, which allows anyone to audit open-source results, has been downloaded by more than 100 node operators since its launch in December.

In this way, the city hopes to gain the confidence of the citizens of Moscow, but greater than that, gain the trust of state governments around the world.

While a so-called "cold war blockchain" in which nations use technology to undermine the financial influence of some worried some, Belozerov hopes that blockchain tests like Active Citizen could increase trust between nations

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In an interview with CoinDesk, Belozerov said:

"The idea is to put all the votes to the blockchain so that it is open so that everyone can connect to our blockchain network, and check the voting process, and and so on."

Adoption and scale

Originally launched in 2014 to allow Moscow's elected officials to give their citizens a say in the make-up of their city, the Active Citizen program has registered 2 million users.

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A total of 3,450 surveys were conducted using the centralized Oracle database on which the platform was originally built, and last week 92 million votes were cast, only the most recent fraction being recorded. blockchain platform.

Such a recorded vote on the ethereum platform was a measure that allowed citizens to vote if they opted to be temporarily relocated while the building in which they live now was demolished and replaced by a newer and nicer building. ]

And while Belozerov said that there was "a huge market interest", he acknowledges that there are still obstacles to overcome.

First, in keeping with the concerns of the public blockchain space, Belozerov wonders how far the blockchain platform will evolve.

Up to now, the platform has only reached a peak trading volume of about 1,000 transactions per minute. But if the Active Citizen project has attracted more than 12 million citizens of Moscow, it remains to be seen if the blockchain will be able to handle the volume.

According Belozerov, the increased adoption of the platform will test the perfect stress.

"At the end of the first quarter, we will determine if it works properly with our charges," he said. "Then we can disable the previous model of Active Citizen and go natively to a blockchain."

Earning Trust

Nevertheless, for a broader purpose, the interest of the citizens of Moscow does not necessarily equate to the interest of governments beyond the city limits.

In an effort to prove that the system is trustworthy, the city of Moscow has mandated PwC, a "Big Four" accounting firm, to perform an independent audit of the code.

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"The company has studied the possibility of manipulating the results of the polls by both internal employees and external attacks," said Belozerov, saying that there was no reason for it Worry in polls of less than 300,000 votes.

According to the official website of the Mayor of Moscow, the most popular polls currently have between 137,000 and 220,000 participants.

In addition, PwC also simulated external cyberattacks and was unable to replace the votes of an electronic referendum or obtain unauthorized access to results, Belozerov said. PwC was not able to confirm the results, citing as a policy not to comment on work with clients.

And not only that, but Belozerov think that government entities have taken the initiative to adopt blockchain technology to not only improve transparency, but also other efficiencies.

He pointed to a recent test from the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and the Federal State Registration Service to see how the blockchain could give homeowners a faster and cheaper way to prove that they possessed their belongings. And beyond that, he mentioned Dubai's job of moving all of his government records to a blockchain by 2025.

Yet, Belozerov acknowledges that even more than the challenges of scaling up, it's what he believes to be an entrenched resistance from government leaders that could constitute the biggest hurdle to adoption.

"Of course, the hardest question is to change your mind or change your mind with this approach," he said, but remaining optimistic, he concluded:

"I see a very strong tendency to move different countries and different societies towards this technology."

Image of Red Square via Shutterstock

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