The University of Malta has developed a blockchain-based voting application that was used for the first time in its student representative elections.
Joshua Ellul, chairman of Malta Digital Innovation Authority at the University of Malta, announced that this is the first time that the university is launching the blockchain app through distributed ledger technology (DLT).
This app uses a Decentralised Digital Identity (DDI) platform which is, in turn, powered by blockchain technology provided by Vodafone.
Ellul also said that this could be the solution to flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak. Ellul said in a statement:
“At this time especially, given the current situation, it was important to have a remote voting mechanism in place that enables trust and transparency thanks to the Blockchain-based solution […] A main challenge to achieve this is onboarding users in a trusted manner – and digital identity platforms such as that provided by Vodafone provide a solution.”
Aside from Ellul, the team also include Saviour Zammit, who chairs the Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies; Gordon Pace, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Faculty of ICT; Shaun Azzopardi, who has completed his PhD within the Department of Computer Science; and the master’s students of the school’s Blockchain and DLT program. who helped test the platform.
How decentralized digital identity works
A LinkedIn user who asked Ellul how the technology works explained:
“VODAFONE DID PROVIDES USERS’ OWNERSHIP OF THEIR DATA, WE MAKE USE OF THE DID PLATFORM TO IDENTIFY AUTHORISED USERS, AND THEN HAVE THEM VOTE USING A MOBILE APP WHICH LODGES VOTES VIA SMART CONTRACTS.”
The app is currently supported by a decentralized digital identity platform. This platform allows each user to completely control their personal data without a centralized authority managing it.
Since the app has enhanced privacy features, it also allows the users to cast votes in a transparent manner. Through the digital identity system, each person’s vote can be reliably verified without exposing their data and voters’ identities remain anonymous.
Malta is one of the centers for blockchain education
The University of Malta is well known for offering courses in blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. Their multidisciplinary master’s program allows students to specialize in either ICT, Law and Regulation, or Business and Finance.
The university’s goal is to equip its students with knowledge of decentralization mechanisms and computational execution engines built on sound computer science and ICT principles.
They also teach students to bridge real-world legal contracts and digital contracts through applications of regulatory and legal frameworks for those who want to specialize in Law and Regulation.
The university also believes that blockchain is rapidly evolving. Students are taught to appreciate the underlying technical implementations and algorithms and surrounding legal frameworks. Software developers writing smart contracts and financial systems also require an understanding of the financial and business models which they are translating into code.
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