- Russia’s blockchain-oriented voting system set to be used in the upcoming national elections is yet to be fully efficient but will be implemented nonetheless.
- According to the country’s Central Election Commission, this initiative’s user tests have been successful, although some improvements need to be made on voter identification.
First reported by Russian media, Kommersant, the newspaper, highlighted that Yaroslavskaya and Kurskaya parliamentary elections scheduled for September 13 would leverage this blockchain solution for remote voting. So far, around 15,000 people have registered to vote through this blockchain-based ecosystem, while at least 3,500 had participated in the project’s testing.
The Technical Underpinnings
This project was developed under Russia’s state back telco giant, Rostelecom, which will also host the blockchain nodes on its company servers. Built on the enterprise version of Waves blockchain, the e-voting system leverages some advanced solutions, including encrypted tech that is yet to be battle-tested. Dubbed ‘homomorphic encryption,’ this tech keeps the votes encrypted until voting is over when they can finally be decrypted.
While the value proposed is better than what was used in Moscow’s e-voting, homomorphic encryption poses a challenge when it comes to voter identification. MixBytes Co-founder and Cybersec expert, Sergey Prilutsky, told Coindesk that authorities could meddle with the votes if they are in control of the list. In addition to this, the embedded encryption in homomorphic ‘elliptic curves’ is not considered secure by Russia’s counter-intelligence agency, FSB.
“It uses elliptic curves that are not considered secure by the FSB,” said the Chief Product Officer of Waves, Artem Kalikhov.
He, however, went on to assure stakeholders that the firm is working on this and noted progress with other functions such as e-signatures, which have already been certified by the FSB. Also, Kalikhov said that getting the ‘homomorphic encryption’ certification is unlikely to be a challenge that might stall development.