Moscow Begins Crypto-Elections Testing: Thumbs Nose At U.S.

Authored by Tom Luongo,

The irony is so thick you’d think it was made from ballistic jelly.  But, that’s exactly what’s needed to contain this shot across the election-tampering bow the Russians just pulled off.

image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

According to Coindesk, the city of Moscow is unveiling an Ethereum-based version of its voting system called Active Citizen.  By putting the votes on the blockchain, as long as the code is solid, then the results cannot be disputed.

This is one of the major promises of the trustless systems the crypto-community has been clamoring about for nearly a decade now.  From the moment I heard about Ethereum and smart contracts, the first application that popped into my head was voting.

Votes need to be on the blockchain.

Nothing in our current society is more important than removing the spectre of corruption from our elections.  While I personally think voting is a complete waste of time (Don’t Vote! It only encourages them, is my motto) the reality is a tremendous amount of power is commanded through the siren’s call of the democratic mandate voting confers on a society.

So, it only makes to create a voting system in capable of being hacked.

I can almost hear the screams of terror from the Democratic party in the U.S. as I type those words.

They know they’ll never win a national or state-wide election again without ballot stuffing, voter bussing and illegal immigrants voting multiple times.

So, the next words you’ll hear from them regarding any kind of blockchain-based voting system is “All poll taxes are racist.”

Active vote has been around a while as an Oracle-based system.  For the Ethereum-based system Moscow is starting small …

…allowing residents to cast votes for measures ranging from the name of their new metro train to the color of the seats in a new sports arena. But in an effort to soothe people’s concerns over whether to trust the city in its vote counting, it’s added a private version of the ethereum blockchain to that project’s architecture.

“Of course, sometimes we hear that not all the votes are trusted,” said Andrey Belozerov, the strategy and innovations advisor to the city’s CIO. “So, we decided to use a blockchain for the Active Citizen project, as a platform of electronic trust.

The ethereum-based platform, which allows anyone to audit the open-source results, has been downloaded by more than 100 node operators since its December launch.

There are concerns, rightly, about scaling and clearing enough transactions in a reasonable amount of time.  So, it is best to test this system on inconsequential votes like the colors of seats on the Moscow Metro.

The Real Message

But, make no mistake, the message here is clear.  Russia is moving towards a transparent, functioning democratic system.  These small matters are simply beta-tests for wider adoption of this technology over time.

The first real milestone should be a local election with the final goal being national elections.

While trust in government institutions in the West is falling at an alarming rate, the evil, corrupt Russians led by chief Mafioso Vladimir Putin are acting to add faith in their system.

Democracy in Russia is just over a generation old but the corruption left behind by the implosion of the Soviet Union and subsequent pillaging by the West under Yeltsin is still very much a problem.

That this announcement comes during the hysteria surrounding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of thirteen Russian individuals and groups for the crime of being ‘internet trolls’ makes makes Mueller look even more of the useful idiot for anti-democratic forces than he already does.

Mueller’s witch hunt for Russian bogeymen is the exact wrong way to restore faith in these systemsAll it’s doing is further alienating voters from the process.  The message from him and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last Friday was clear.

“You are too stupid to have voted for Donald Trump honestly.  We uncovered the truth that your perceptions were clouded by a bunch of Russian trolls looking for some cheap Google AdWords money.”

I guess that stuff plays on the D.C. cocktail party circuit and college campuses, but it doesn’t play pretty much anywhere else.

And it’s the deadly seriousness with which these people drone on about the ‘sanctity of our elections’ that is the most ironic.

So, while the entrenched powers in D.C. still stamp their feet and complain about an election outcome they didn’t like, Russia is moving to ensure one of Josef Stalin’s most oft-quoted maxims is no longer applicable to theirs.

“Those who cast the votes decide nothing; those who count the votes decide everything.”

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Normalcy Bias Slippery Slope Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:50 Permalink

Are you aware of the NY TIMES article admitting that Bush legitimately won in Florida?

EXAMINING THE VOTE: THE OVERVIEW; Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote

I'm here all night if you can come up with a retort; and don't forget to tip your waitress.

In reply to by Slippery Slope

janus Baron von Bud Thu, 02/22/2018 - 23:46 Permalink

Blockchain tech would, for janus, go a LONG way in restoring faith in a failing system.  I've been a passionate advocate of this from the moment I first made sense of its mechanics.  Not only do I endorse it, I consider resistance to blockchain a tacit confession to election shenanigans.

How're they gonna rationalize their embrace of voting machines and a rejection of blockchain?  

commies on suicide watch.


In reply to by Baron von Bud

Implied Violins janus Thu, 02/22/2018 - 23:55 Permalink

What the fuck good is this crypto bullshit if the hardware that uses it is corrupted?

When Intel finally takes their fucking "Intel Inside" OUT of their fucking computer chips and Seagate removes their backdoors as well, *then* maybe I'll give it a try.  But even then, there will probably still be software someone develops that will fuck us all in the ass.

I want quantum computing, and I want it NOW!!!

In reply to by janus

Slippery Slope Normalcy Bias Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:14 Permalink

@Normalcy Bias


Au contraire. Your argument started by your statement that paper ballots were inviolable.


I never stated that Bush wasn’t the real winner, but you immediately retorted that Bush legitimately won.


I simply brought up the Butterfly Ballot issue because it confused voters and worse, the unclear ballots even led to court challenges.

In reply to by Normalcy Bias

jimmy c korn shamus001 Fri, 02/23/2018 - 01:54 Permalink

Well hell, I couldn't believe it myself! Maybe it was fake news coming out from Breitbart, but they said it, I didn't!

'Donald Trump Endorses #NeverTrump Star Mitt Romney' 19 Feb 2018

“Mitt Romney has announced he is running for the Senate from the wonderful State of Utah,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to Orrin Hatch, and has my full support and endorsement!”…

In reply to by shamus001

litemine Normalcy Bias Thu, 02/22/2018 - 22:00 Permalink

I remember video of a selection button pushed checked another's box.....The system was corrupted and yes a paper ballot system could be counted....

The busing of voters to different polling stations was another matter.

Are you saying that a computer system (blockchain) could not be better?

Democracy should be a fair vote and self respect is when you can accept losing where as in Self Esteem can not.

Snowflakes can not accept losing.....There you have it.

In reply to by Normalcy Bias

Jay Normalcy Bias Fri, 02/23/2018 - 00:09 Permalink

No. Results can't be manipulated after the fact. Once a record (vote) is hashed into a block and a few blocks are added on top, the record is immutable.

The auditing is done by all the voters in real-time. When you vote on the blockchain, you can see your vote and verify that it went to the right party, just as you can see any transaction on the blockchain.

There are other benefits: Greater voter turn out because it's faster and easier to vote online than going to a voting place and waiting in line.

You could claw your vote back and change it if you want up till the time the voting window closes.

Because you can change your vote, the polls could be open for weeks. Since everyone can see how the true vote is progressing, there's no gaming of "polling" results.

In reply to by Normalcy Bias

HRClinton Normalcy Bias Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:53 Permalink

Who'd trust NPR? If I had to design a Blockchain voting machine, I'd use their fingerprint to generate the Private Key for the Public Key.

Let them vote as often as they like, w/o the fingerprint as the Key, no more than 1 vote gets accepted for that Public Key.

The encrypted info would go on the Voting Blockchain, using Ether tech. All distributed globally, for instant computer-based analysis of voting stats. It's a Statistician's wet dream.

(As for the "hat" reference, it was a humorous rib at your avatar. I was hoping you'd respond with me having "flipped my wig", as a reference to my avatar's hairdo. FWIW, I love Dan Akroyd. Eh. Peace, bro.)

In reply to by Normalcy Bias

Normalcy Bias HRClinton Thu, 02/22/2018 - 22:15 Permalink

Only FOOLS and Old Folks trust NPR. They're only complaining because they lost an election they KNEW they had rigged.

My point, which still holds, is that it is FAR easier to rig DIGITAL election results than it is to have the dead, the illegal, the multiple voter, and the '95% in favor of our candidate paper ballots' found at the last minute in the trunks of cars to swing an election.

In reply to by HRClinton

tricorn teacup Brazen Heist Fri, 02/23/2018 - 02:11 Permalink

How do you know who's casting ballots and if they're eligible voters?  And once that issue is addressed, how do you protect the secret ballot?  And if you reply with no more substance than "Blockchain" I'll know you don't understand the tech issues.  Paper ballots allow for validating the person issued a ballot, allowing a voter to validate that their vote is recorded correctly, while providing a cutout so you can't trace who cast a ballot.  Doing all this digitally is at best Hard.

In reply to by Brazen Heist

LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:39 Permalink

"I can almost hear the screams of terror from the Democratic party in the U.S. as I type those words."

I'm not so sure about that.  There is actually some advantage to requiring voters to go through a fair amount of headache to vote.  I don't think we necessarily want to know what would happen if voting were as easy as clicking "like this candidate" on some online ballot.