The Swiss town Zug, often known as cryptocurrencies ‘Silicon Valley’, is bringing a new blockchain-based system to elections between June 25 and July 1 this year. The voters will be using blockchain technology to vote on trivial issues like the use of fireworks in festivals and the implementation of digital ID at local libraries. They will also be consulted on their opinion about the distributed ledger voting system.
A Small but Critical Step
Though the elections will be held on less significant issues, it presents a unique opportunity for the Swiss to work on the eID system, which was implemented last November and now already has 200 users. Based on the blockchain system, it registers citizens on a distributed ledger and lets them access tax, road traffic, child protection, employment and other city services using their mobile phones. The voting process will also be conducted on mobile devices.
As the elections are just a test, the results will not be binding. But the test is still significant as Switzerland is a sparsely populated and wealthy nation boasting high income per capita.
Crypto Valley Gains Ground
Home to some of the biggest blockchain and cryptocurrency start-ups, including Ethereum, the Crypto Valley Association from Zug is taking several steps to facilitate research in the industry. The Crypto Valley Association is playing a crucial role in organizing these companies and promoting industry events that can help in providing networking and collaboration opportunities to different start-ups. Created on March 2017, this association boasts of several bigwig members, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, UBS, and Thomson Reuters.
Bitcoin has become an accepted payment method here since 2016 and Bitmain, the world’s most profitable crypto mining firm from China also set up a subsidiary here in 2018.
It is unclear whether the city council is looking to hold its actual elections via blockchain in the future. As the country is rapidly transitioning toward distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrencies, it could be possible.