...by Daniel Szego
quote
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
Leonardo da Vinci

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

How to create a voting algorithm on a public blockchain


Creating a decentralized voting system on the top of the blockchain is actually not as easy as it looks like. There are many problems that can be resulted in a wrong implementation. The problem is that blockchain is pretty much public, even if we speak on a consortium blockchain solutions, data and transaction is public at least to the consortium nodes that might be less privacy as needed. Some of the problems might be the followings:

- The identity of the voters should not be revealed: for such a purpose there might be the possibility to use a pseudonym voting solution, where instead of names, we simply use like an ethereum address. Certainly, here the major challenge is to distribute the pseudonym addresses and making sure that one person votes only once. 

- The actual votes should not be revealed during the voting because they could influence the result of the voting. One way can be to set the voting into two phase: in phase one, voters vote with a hash value of the vote and some random salt. In the next phase, there is only aggregation of the votes where the participants reveal the voted values and salts. Certainly, it is pretty much questionable how the algorithm exactly works, like what happens if the some actors vote but do not reveal the votes in the next round. 

- If both the votes and the identities should be 100% hidden, meaning that not even pseudonym information can be revealed than it is pretty much questionable if it can be solved technically at all. Probably specialized zero knowledge proofs can help with the situation. 

- General question is how the voting rights can be distributed in a decentralized way. Who or what should be able to vote and how they get that right to vote.