Students from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras have, for the very first time in the nation’s history, conducted a council election using blockchain technology — the first of its kind used in the poll process as per an official.
Reported first by PTI, the initiative was undertaken by students of Webops and Blockchain Club from the Centre for Innovation (CFI) at IIT Madras.
What is blockchain?
To the unaware, a blockchain is an unchangeable, distributed ledger where transactions or records on it are stored individually in the form of ‘blocks’ that over time form a chain of transactions, which is referred to as a ‘blockchain’.
The initiative allows for improving efficiency as well as traceability in the process. Officials at the IIT Madras have highlighted key advantages of using blockchain technology for elections including a considerable reduction in the cost of conducting elections, offering a process that’s tamper-proof as well as verifiable, and that also brings transparency and trust to the election process.
IIT-Madras, faculty-in-charge, Webops and Blockchain Club, professor Prabhu Rajagopal said in a statement, “This student-led project has the transformative potential to positively disrupt the way elections are held. By harnessing the inherent trust and immutability offered by blockchain technologies, this work demonstrates their impact on conducting elections…”
The technology, albeit novel, has already been applied for elections by the Brazilian government in May to fight corruption in public expenses by tracking them more effectively. Dubbed the Brazilian Blockchain Network, it’s still in development and is expected to be used by numerous other government institutions in the near future.