In February 2016, Nasdaq announced that they would introduce a blockchain-based program in Estonia to help improve the country’s e-Residency shareholder participation. This platform would allow shareholders of companies listed on the Tallinn Stock Exchange to cast votes digitally, without requiring their physical presence at a meeting. The program’s initial launch in Estonia was meant to be a pilot and proof of concept.
During early 2017, Nasdaq heralded the pilot program as an overwhelming success and said that it would continue to explore potential applications of their blockchain-based e-voting platform.
More than ten months after that announcement, on 22 November, 2017, Nasdaq revealed their agreement with Strate Ltd., the South African Central Securities Depository (CSD), to bring their electronic voting platform to the country. This move marks the first true implementation of Nasdaq’s platform and could signal a worldwide shift to blockchain-based shareholder voting.
Key shareholders of a particular company sometimes have to express their votes on certain issues or resolutions. Under such circumstances, a postal ballot would have to be issued to all shareholders. They would then have to approve or reject the company’s proposition via a return post. This process dates back several decades and at one point, is how every country mandated the casting of votes for governance or otherwise.