Waves Enterprise Introduces Blockchain Voting Platform

The Waves project’s business-focused spin-off, Waves Enterprise released its blockchain voting system to the public, which is primarily developed for board and corporations governance. At every step of the voting process, blockchain is used by the Waves system, as votes are counted and recorded with complete cryptographic guarantees. An accurate vote tally is made through homomorphic encryption, which keeps the identity of every person casting the ballot hidden. While the voting system has been developed for lower stakes environments primarily, such as corporate boards, the technology was recently tested in the parliamentary and local elections in Russia. 

According to the team, the experience highlighted that the platform is primed for deployment. However, Artem Kalikhov, the chief product officer, stated that the public product is a bit different from the one that was used in Russia. He said that the voting system used in the elections was developed with Rostelekom, which follows a similar cryptographic protocol, but can be distinguished in several ways. For instance, it has different mechanisms for anonymization and identification and uses Russian cryptography. Plus, the voting process is also different. Kalikhov also added that authorities in Brazil were also considering implementing a potential blockchain voting system. 

Regardless, the current product is designed for board voting and corporate setting and according to the estimates made by Waves, it is valued at $100 million globally. As the target clientele is different for this system, it enabled the company to make this platform a lot more accessible to the public. The platform had received some criticism during the Russian elections, as connecting and verifying the blockchain nodes wasn’t possible for external parties. According to Kalikhov, the commercial version runs on a permissioned, yet public blockchain, which is called Waves Enterprise Mainnet. A variety of techniques are used by the platform for preventing fraud in the voting process and also during vote tallying.

Kalikhov stated that the use of cryptographic signing of transactions and blockchain ensures that once the votes are saved on the ledger, it wouldn’t be possible to change or delete them. He said that the privacy of the votes was guaranteed thanks to the use of homomorphic encryption, as it allowed results of the election to be automatically collected without decrypting individual ballots. Overall, the possibility of fraud in the election process is minimized due to the combination of blockchain, cryptographic techniques and a system of checks and balances. 

Nonetheless, as some of the platforms indicated that potential backdoors or bugs are not excluded in the use of blockchain. Even if the election system is deemed solid, the voter registration process will determine how strong the platform is. Election fraud usually occurs when manipulated or fake ballots are created. For instance, ballots are casted in the name of felons, dead people, or other ineligible voters, such as leaving loopholes so one person can cast several votes and harassing or paying people to vote for a particular candidate. According to Kalikhov, a system of private and public keys is used for registering the voters and a registry of valid voters is held by smart contracts via their public keys. 

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