The small Swiss city of Zug will trial a blockchain-based voting procedure for citizens in June 2018. Results of the test will significantly determine the use of a distributed ledger technology for future governance purposes.
Small Size, Large Impact
The 118,118-citizen strong constituency of Zug, as per 2014 statistics, is known in cryptocurrency circles as a blockchain incubator, and the latest development makes evident the city’s welcoming attitude towards the emerging technology and asset class.
According to a report by Swissinfo, The city’s eID system, set up in November 2017 and used by 200 citizens at the time of writing, will shift to a blockchain-based backend in June 2018 as a means to test the technology on a significant level. Voters will be able to use the mobile-only application on their devices to vote for political representatives and local developments.
The test will take place between June 25 and July 1. Notably, the results are non-binding for city authorities, as the application is strictly a beta test.
The voter will be asked their preference on two public events: holding a fireworks show at the city’s Lakeside Festival and issuing digital ids for library and parking use. Additionally, test takers will be questioned if the blockchain-based digital ID system should be used for regular referendum votes in future.
Bird’s eye view of Zug.
(Source: Kanton Zug)
Switzerland’s Digital Push
Zug is termed as the “Crypto Valley” by the local Swiss media in reference to a large number of blockchain and cryptocurrency companies set up in the region. Reportedly, several local businesses readily accept cryptocurrency payments in exchange for goods and services.
Zug authorities introduced the eID system in November 2017 as a pilot project to allow citizens digital access council services. The system’s possible blockchain migration is a tremendous step forward and indicates the constituency’s favorable stance on decentralized database systems that grant users full control over their data.
However, Zug is one of the increasing numbers of Swiss constituencies or government authorities implementing blockchain technology in their functions.
On June 6, the Canton of Schaffhausen announced a full shift to a blockchain-based eID+ system after successful tests since December 2017. The system allows residents access the canton’s employment, traffic, tax, and child protection statistics.
In 2017, a consortium of private enterprises, including the Swiss Federal Railways, Swiss Stock Exchange, and Swiss Post, launched a national digital SwissID system.
While all eID systems are not designed to conduct voting, the Swiss government seeks to implement blockchain technology to boost electronic voting in the country. As per reports, the Swiss authorities want two-thirds of all constituencies to offer e-voting before 2020.