The E-VOX project team has introduced the concept of e-voting system for communities and local councils based on blockchain technology and aimed at supporting e-democracy in Ukraine. With its project team E-VOX was selected among others on EGAP Challenge Hackathon held by the State Agency for E-Governance of Ukraine to participate in the ongoing incubation program and went to the next round of the competition. The importance of the E-VOX project is raised by the emerging process of state power decentralization in Ukraine which depends on bringing transparency and technology to local governments.
Local government decisions are hardly accessible in Ukraine
Current Ukrainian legislation enforce local authorities to publish decisions within a day after it was adopted, including list of deputies’ names who voted for or against. At the same time, only small amount of local governments is technologically ready to implement these changes. From over ten thousand of local governments in Ukraine, only a few hundreds has electronic voting system installed and publish decisions online. Citizens hardly get council decisions because of bureaucracy. Blockchain technology with its distributed database is the best solution for such case. What is more important is that it does not allow data changes after insertion done therefore reducing risk of altering any document to zero.
Idea and start of the E-VOX project
E-VOX offers the possibility to local government to register their acts and decisions in electronic form in a decentralized blockchain-based ledger. Having this information in electronic and accessible form allows for analytics, statistics and proficiency measuring of local authorities through the whole country. Also, blockchain ledger cryptographically protects information stored from untrusted modification.
The main purpose of E-VOX is to provide
– with guaranteed access to public information and decisions of their communities and ability to compare and analyze the way decision was voted for,
– with convenient and reliable electronic voting tool with in time and automatic result publication;
– with large array of the raw data for a comprehensive analysis of the local governments decisions through the whole country.
The project is based on the concept of Blockchain based e-petitions web-service developed by E-VOX team. It was implemented two months ago and alpha version was published in Ethereum network. Source code was published for community review here and here
E-VOX team participates in EGAP Challenge in Odessa
E-VOX project and E-petitions concept proof were successfully presented by E-VOX team of Mykhailo Tiutin (Vareger), coordinators Oleksii Konashevych (Reanimation Package of Reforms / Center for innovations development of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy) and Roman Yakovliev (Innovation and Development Foundation) on EGAP e-democracy Challenge in Odessa July 2-3. During this idea-hackathon team deepened into the problem and created product vision document of E-VOX spin-off – a system for voting in local governments and E-VOX:DB – blockchain based ledger for storing documents, voting results and decisions.
Photo 1. Oleksii Konashevych (coordinator)
Photo 2. Roman Yakovliev (coordinator)
Photo 3. Mykhailo Tiutin (developer)
E-VOX spin-off for councils will have its own IT infrastructure including server and client tablet based terminals but will also heavily rely on E-VOX:DB by storing all documents and voting results in it. There also will be a web-portal that provides access to results of voting and decisions for all citizens for free. E-VOX team declared a plan to setup ERIS blockchain ledger, design E-VOX and setup it in at least one local government in Ukraine before 2017. The integrated solution for local governments will include voting application and blockchain node to setup within their infrastructure. Each node to be connected to the Internet to be able to synchronize with other nodes. Team plan to have at least two reserved full nodes located in datacenters for backup and network stability purposes.
While technical design is clear, team decided to allow for other possible business models. Originally project was designed as non-commercial and does not suppose for direct monetization. Team heavily relied on the local governments to have enough funds to setup and maintain solution within their infrastructure (each council to maintains its own part and node). Currently E-VOX team is searching a solution to provide sustainable development to cover expenses for launching and maintaining the system for the case when local governments will not have direct funds for maintenance to make project closer to Ukrainian realities.
The one possible approach is decoupling backend (:DB) and frontend (:spin-off for councils) and allowing for other vendors of voting systems to store voting results in E-VOX:DB for free. This will allow for much more raw data and opens possibility to create “for profit” analytics systems and solutions over :DB service. At the same time E-VOX spin-off will stay as a open source and reference voting solutions integrated with :DB. Team will engage other voting solution providers to fork it and/or use its parts to improve quality of their own products in exchange of integrating their systems with :DB service.
Another possible approach is in developing and providing other legal services over :DB ledger, but team understands that each of these services requires separate research on possible business model, technical solution and legal base.
E-VOX is driven by:
Vareger (Mykhailo Tiutin) software development company with active Blockchain R&D’s center that supports implementation of blockchain and smart contracts based e-gov services. Successfully implemented e-petitions concept proof for E-VOX and continues participating in technical design of further E-VOX projects.
web site: http://vareger.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/varegergroup
Center for Innovations Development of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy with E-democracy Group of Reanimation Package of Reforms, whose expert – Oleksii Konashevych – initiated E-VOX project and actively takes part as a coordinator. E-democracy Group of RPR was the initiator of the Ukrainian electronic petitions law. CID NaUKMA takes an active part in developing and implementing e-democracy tools in SmartCity project in Kyiv and other cities
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cidnaukma/
Facebook e-dem community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/edemclubua
E-VOX.org project is open for other organizations and volunteers
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