Blockchain technology is blooming slowly but surely with different industries experimenting with distributed ledger technology. Horizon State aims to use blockchain technology to provide unprecedented trust with their decision-making platform in the form of a secure digital ballot box that cannot be hacked, results cannot be altered and voter identities are protected. This is set to be a global gamechanger and will soon be adopted by political parties, multinational enterprises, global NGOs and communities in developing countries. I spoke to Horizon State Chief Product Officer Jaime Skella about how he set up the company, case studies and transforming the technology behind Bitcoin into something that offers democracy.
Madhvi Mavadiya: How is HorizonState revolutionising the voting system?
Jaime Skella: Horizon State is utilizing distributed ledger technology, otherwise known as blockchain, to deliver a digital ballot box that cannot be hacked. Sharing all of the technological benefits that makes Bitcoin possible – being verifiable transactions of value without a bank – we are using blockchain transactions as votes, while still maintaining anonymity of the voter. The end result is a system that is quicker to orchestrate than traditional voting methods, more convenient for voters which reduces apathy, and far cheaper than centralized, physical voting processes. What is costing Australian tax payers AUS$122 (USD$95) for a marriage equality postal vote would cost in the vicinity of AUS$2 million (USD$157,000) using our system. This equates to a cost per eligible voter of less than $1, instead of $7, or more.
Mavadiya: What was the reason behind creating your product?
Skella: I waited until I was quite old, relative to enrolment age of most voters, before I registered to do so. I could never stomach the idea that I get to vote once every few years, for entire packages of policies. I wanted to be able to vote per policy, and ideally, as those policy issues arose. While the internet could theoretically enable this, there was no viable option to secure the vote digitally. Blockchain changed that, so I got to work on a solution that leveraged it for an Australian democratic movement named MiVote, who had similar aspirations to be able to engage a national constituency with immediacy, and with frequency – asking the public to vote on matters that affect them, as those matters arose.
Mavadiya: Did you recognise a gap in the market for this form of service?
Skella: Our blockchain voting system has been in use since February, for MiVote. Since then, they’ve ran four nationally inclusive votes with their Australian membership. We are now engaged with global NGOs, multinational enterprises, national governments, and city councils around the world about the adopting of our technology. It has applications for everything from AGMs, to electing officials, and polling international memberships on sensitive matters such as use of funds.