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Greenland investigates potential blockchain-based election system

Researchers have been funded to investigate blockchain-based online voting in Greenland

Researchers have been given a £420,000 grant to explore the potential use of a blockchain-based voting system in Greenland.

Aarhus University, the Alexandra Institute, the IT University and researchers at Concordium Blockchain have received funding from university collaboration DIREC to create a secure online voting system.

The project is being run with Greenland’s Department of Social Affairs, Labor Market and Home Affairs, and the group has emerged following a change in the law in 2020, which permitted online voting in the country.

Greenland is a large country physically, but has a population of only about 58,000.

Carsten Schürmann, professor at the IT University, is principal investigator on the project. He said: “My goal is that we can give the Greenlandic decision-makers good conditions for deciding which system they should use to hold online elections.”

Schürmann said the project could also be valuable from a research point of view. “Technologically speaking, we are moving into unknown territory and, depending on our results, you can easily imagine that the many, many countries that can see the benefits of an [online] election will be able to use our results as well,” he said. “And Greenland – with its limited population and great distances – is an optimal place to start from.”

Kåre Kjelstrøm, CTO at Concordium, said: “There are, of course, many advantages in an online election. However, distrust and a lack of regulation of ready and secure solutions has prevented the vast majority of countries from moving forward.

“In Greenland, where enormous distances make it difficult for people to cast their vote, an online solution could potentially increase voter participation, and this is one of the reasons why a change in the law in 2020 paved the way for the Greenlandic government to give Greenlanders the opportunity to cast their vote online in the future.”

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