Seoul to debut blockchain petition system in March

Seoul is set to launch its blockchain-powered petition system on March 1. The system will enable the residents of the city to air their views and share them with the local government. It will replace the existing system which has been marred by claims of fake identities and vote manipulation.

Known as Democracy Seoul, the new system will give the residents of South Korea’s capital the opportunity to turn the government’s attention to issues that affect them. A resident will be able to propose any issue on the platform and if it gets at least 1,000 votes from other residents, the city’s Mayor Park Won-soon will have to address it. This system will be similar to an existing national system that allows South Koreans to air their issues with the government. Once an issue receives 200,000 votes, the national government has to address it.

The national petition system, as with any other online voting system globally, has been marred by accusations of vote manipulation and fake identities. As Decrypt reports, experts have unearthed that it’s quite easy to deceive the system, even with little technical expertise. All one needs to cast a vote multiple times is to use a different username and internet service provider.

The use of blockchain will eliminate the authenticity challenge, with the technology being used to verify the identity of every person who votes, preventing duplicate voting. Blockchain will also give the system more transparency, giving the residents more trust in the system.

The blockchain system comes just a fortnight after the Seoul Mayor lowered the threshold number of votes required for the government to respond from 5,000 to 1,000. This will make it possible for the government to respond to more issues. According to a report by the Maeil Business Newspaper, Democracy Seoul has registered over 5,900 civic proposals since it launched in October 2017. 59 of these proposals have gone on to become official city policies.

As Seoul launches its blockchain petition system, South Korea is working on its national blockchain voting system. Announced in November 2018, the system provides real-time visibility of the voting process, making the system more credible. The system incorporates other emerging technologies including the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and big data.

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