Updated: Sierra Leone undertake world’s first “blockchain-based” Presidential election

UPDATE (26/03/2018): Sierra Leone’s Government have denied this story with TechCrunch reporting that Agora merely observed the vote and stored some of the results. Full story here.

On the 7th of March 2018, Sierra Leone’s electorate went to the polls to vote in the ‘world’s first’ blockchain-based Presidential election. Blockchain is the ledger technology that underpins the renown cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. The experiment involved voters casting ballots at polling stations, with the votes being recorded manually to the blockchain by Agora, a Swiss digital voting foundation.

A permissioned blockchain was used meaning that access to information on the blockchain and the ability to add transactions was limited. The entries on the blockchain could be viewed by anyone. This is unlike the public blockchain used for Bitcoin in which anyone can read the blockchain, make changes, and add blocks.

sierra leone flag
70% of votes in the 2018 Presidential election were recorded to the blockchain.

Around 70% of total votes were recorded to the blockchain from 280 polling stations across the Western District of Sierra Leone. The results can be viewed online here.

Leonardo Gammar, of Agora, told TechCrunch that this is the ‘first time a government election is using blockchain technology’ and that it is ‘the only technology that has been created which can provide an end-to-end verifiable and fully-transparent voting solution.’

There will be a run-off election to decide who will succeed President Koroma on March 27th.


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