Zug’s blockchain voting test ‘a success,’ says communications head

Zug wants to integrate their eID system to the blockchain voting mobile platform later on.

From June 25 to July 1, Switzerland’s “Crypto Valley” in Zug launched a blockchain pilot for municipal voting to 72 of its 240 citizens, which Dieter Müller, the head of communications for the city of Zug, said could have used more people for testing but hailed the test run a success nonetheless. Only three of the participants indicated any difficulty in the digital voting process. The results of the test run, of course, are not considered an official election.

The blockchain-based voting system would enable citizens to vote using their mobile phones, and the plan is to integrate the city’s digital ID (eID) system at a later phase. The eID has been rolling out since November 2017, and the blockchain voting system hopes to improve privacy, voting secrecy, verification and tamper-proofing of results.

Switzerland has been very active in the global race for blockchain dominance. Just last month, Swiss bank Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority’s (FINMA) blessing, announced that blockchain and cryptocurrency companies can now open corporate bank accounts with them. This was a first in the country.

And last week, Zug’s financial director Heinz Tännler, followed suit and formed a task force dedicated to helping banks accommodate blockchain and crypto companies. Tännler wants to make sure the start-ups in the Crypto Valley would stay there, fearing that banking difficulties would force them to more favourable territories.

Switzerland’s pro-active crypto-friendly stance has been attracting a lot of business, including Bitfinex—which has been having problems with authorities demanding audits in the US.

Meanwhile in other countries, blockchain start-ups are having a hard time. Just the other day, news broke out that India’s Supreme Court refused to suspend their central bank’s order to ban banks from engaging in cryptocurrency-related entities. A hearing is set later this month to determine whether the ban is unconstitutional.

In Israel, companies have been seeing banks retaliate despite the absence of regulatory bans. A few banks have been taken to court: cryptocurrency exchange Bits of Gold won its case against Leumi Bank for unfairly closing down their account. And in another case, the Supreme Court intervened and forced Bank Hapoalim to let a client’s fund transfer go through. Hapoalim blocked the transfer—which came from cryptocurrency sources, citing money laundering and terrorism financing as an excuse despite being given sufficient documentation on the legality of the funds as well as tax clearance.

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