Thailand’s main opposition political party Democrat Party has become the first in the world to use blockchain technology in a live e-voting system involving more than 120,000 members.
Using a blockchain platform based on Zcoin, an open source cryptocurrency, members of the kingdom’s oldest political party voted for their leader earlier this month, through voting stations equipped with Raspberry Pi devices and a mobile voting app that required voters to submit their photo ID.
All data, including identification documents and voting tallies, was encrypted and stored on a decentralised and distributed file storage system. The file hashes were then stored on the Zcoin blockchain, which served as an immutable database and provided auditability to the Thai Election Commission and Democrat Party candidates.
Care was also taken to protect the secrecy of the votes and integrity of the voting process.
Encryption keys, for example, were split using a cryptographic method called Shamir’s Secret Sharing Scheme to ensure no one could decrypt the full set of voting data without the agreement and presence of all the stakeholders.
In addition, voter identification documents could only be decrypted by a member of the Thai electoral commission or a representative of the Democrat Party for the purpose of verifying the eligibility of voters.
And voting data could only be decrypted if all five parties – three representatives of each candidate, the Thai Election Commission and the Democrat Party – were present and in agreement.
The way this primary election was run is expected to have significant implications for Thailand’s first national election set to take place next year. The country has been under military rule since 2014.
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“I believe we’ve achieved a huge milestone in our country’s political history and hope that other political parties, or even the government, not just in Thailand but in the region, can look to using blockchain technology in enabling large-scale e-voting or polling,” said Poramin Insom, founder and lead developer of Zcoin.
Previously, only about 250 party MPs and party branch chairmen would vote for their leader, but this time all members took part in the recent e-vote.
Former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was elected leader of the Democrat Party with 67,505 votes, ahead of his closest rival Warong Dechgitvigrom who received 57,689 votes.