Blockchain could be used in US Senate voting amid COVID-19 lockdown

Blockchain has come out winning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with global lockdowns forcing many to reinvent their operations. In the U.S., the government is increasingly warming up to the technology. The Senate has proposed blockchain voting during the lockdown, while a new bill could see blockchain-based distribution of medical equipment.

A recent Senate memo offered a peek into the government’s pivot towards blockchain technology, with security being one of the key factors. The memo was drafted for a roundtable meant to discuss the “Continuity of Senate Operations and Remote Voting in Times of Crisis.” It notes that the COVID-19 crisis has forced Congress to rethink its operations as in-person meetings have become restricted.

According to the memo, any solution that will be explored will have to focus on authentication and encryption. Blockchain would be an ideal solution as it offers these two benefits, it stated.

It added, “With its encrypted distributed ledger, blockchain can both transmit a vote securely and also verify the correct vote. Some have argued that these attributes make blockchain useful for electronic voting broadly. Blockchain can provide a secure and transparent environment for transactions and a tamper-free electronic record of all the votes.”

Despite the many benefits, the Senate still has reservations regarding the use of blockchain. The biggest concern is that the network could fall into the wrong hands. With the Senate being a small entity, any blockchain network that is to be used must eliminate the threat of a 51% attack.

It added, “Other security concerns for remote blockchain voting in the Senate include possible vulnerabilities from cryptographic flaws and software bugs.”

Elsewhere, blockchain could be applied in the distribution of medical equipment during the pandemic. The U.S. Congressman for Massachusetts Stephen Lynch tabled a bill that proposes the use of the technology in overseeing the distribution. If passed, the bill will lead to the creation of the National Emergency Biodefence Network which will be built on blockchain technology.

The Congressman proposed a $25 million budget to build the network. It will oversee the distribution of ventilators, personal protection equipment and other critical medical supplies across the U.S. According to the bill, blockchain will allow the authorities to “verify the status of our biodefense capacity in real-time which will allow us to be better prepared.”

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