When considering the implementation of blockchain technology for a digital voting system, you have the option to either develop your own blockchain or utilize an existing one. Both approaches have their advantages and potential drawbacks, and the choice largely depends on specific requirements, such as scalability, control, security, and integration capabilities. Here’s a comprehensive exploration of both options:

Developing Your Own Blockchain


  1. Customization: Creating your own blockchain allows for complete customization. You can design the blockchain to meet the specific needs of a voting system, such as maintaining voter anonymity, ensuring vote immutability, and implementing specific consensus mechanisms that might not be available in existing blockchains.
  2. Control and Governance: Having your own blockchain gives you full control over the governance of the network. You can decide how the blockchain will be updated and who has the authority to make changes. This is particularly important for a voting system where legal and regulatory compliance is critical.
  3. Security: By designing your own blockchain, you can tailor security protocols to best fit the needs of a voting system, potentially increasing the security level beyond what is available in public blockchains.


  1. Development and Maintenance Costs: Building a blockchain from scratch is costly and time-consuming. It requires significant expertise not only to develop but also to maintain and update the system.
  2. Scalability and Performance Issues: Developing a new blockchain might face initial issues with scalability and performance, as these systems need extensive testing and optimization to handle large volumes of transactions typical in national elections.
  3. Network Security: Smaller, private blockchains might suffer from reduced security compared to well-established ones because the security of a blockchain often depends on the number of nodes. Fewer nodes can mean a more centralized network and potentially increased vulnerabilities.

Using an Existing Blockchain


  1. Proven Technology: Using an established blockchain means relying on technology that has been tested and proven over time. This can reduce the risks associated with technical failures and security flaws.
  2. Reduced Development Time and Cost: Leveraging existing blockchain infrastructure can significantly reduce the time and cost needed to launch a digital voting system as much of the necessary technology is already developed and in use.
  3. Enhanced Security and Decentralization: Established public blockchains offer high levels of security and decentralization, which are critical for protecting the integrity of the voting process and preventing tampering or fraud.


  1. Less Customization: Relying on an existing blockchain limits the ability to customize features specific to your needs. You have to work within the constraints and capabilities of the chosen blockchain.
  2. Dependency: Utilizing an existing blockchain creates a dependency on that blockchain’s community and developers. Any changes, updates, or issues with the blockchain could directly affect your voting system.
  3. Regulatory and Compliance Risks: Public blockchains are generally not designed with specific legal frameworks in mind, potentially making compliance more complicated.

Platform Selection: Blockchain Technology (TL,DR – Skip for next line)

Choice of Blockchain: Based on the need for security, transparency, and reduced risk of centralization, a Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain is recommended. PoS offers energy efficiency and scalability, which are beneficial for a national digital voting system.

Development Environment: Utilize platforms such as Ethereum or a custom blockchain framework like Hyperledger Fabric or Hyperledger Sawtooth, which support smart contracts essential for implementing voting logic and maintaining records securely.

Development Phases

  1. Requirement Analysis:
    • Gather requirements specific to the electoral process, including legal compliance, voter anonymity, scalability needs, and integration with existing electronic ID systems.
    • Define system architecture, including node distribution, consensus mechanism specifics, and cryptographic measures for security.
  2. Design:
    • Design the blockchain architecture with a focus on security, user accessibility, and auditability.
    • Create a detailed design of smart contracts that will handle the voting logic, vote counting, voter registration, and result tabulation.
  3. Implementation:
    • Develop the smart contracts using Solidity (for Ethereum) or an appropriate programming language supported by the chosen blockchain platform.
    • Implement a user interface accessible via web or mobile, ensuring it is intuitive and accessible to all voters with security features like two-factor authentication.
  4. Testing and Auditing:
    • Conduct thorough testing including unit testing, integration testing, and system testing.
    • Perform security audits and stress tests to identify and mitigate potential security vulnerabilities.
    • Engage independent third-party auditors to validate the integrity and security of the blockchain implementation.
  5. Deployment:
    • Deploy the system initially in a limited pilot to gauge performance and gather user feedback.
    • Roll out the system in phases, monitoring each phase for issues and making adjustments as necessary.
  6. Training and Documentation:
    • Provide comprehensive training for election officials and technical support teams.
    • Create detailed user documentation and system manuals to support end-users and technical staff.

Maintenance and Upkeep

  1. Ongoing Monitoring:
    • Implement monitoring tools to track system performance, node activity, and potential security threats in real-time.
    • Set up alert systems to notify administrators of unusual patterns that could indicate issues or potential attacks.
  2. Regular Updates:
    • Schedule regular updates to the blockchain software, smart contracts, and any related applications to address newly discovered vulnerabilities and to incorporate enhancements.
    • Update the system to comply with new or changing legal requirements as they arise.
  3. Community and Stakeholder Engagement:
    • Maintain continuous dialogue with stakeholders including government bodies, political parties, and civil society to ensure the system meets broader societal needs and maintains public trust.
    • Engage with the blockchain community to keep abreast of the latest developments and best practices in blockchain technology and security.
  4. Backup and Disaster Recovery:
    • Implement robust backup procedures to ensure data integrity and system resilience.
    • Develop a comprehensive disaster recovery plan to restore operations quickly in case of a system failure or cyberattack.

Existing Solution for Usage

When evaluating blockchains for a digital voting system, it’s crucial to consider specific platforms that provide the required functionality, security, and scalability. Below, I’ll outline a few popular blockchains that are potentially suitable for voting applications, highlighting their pros and cons.



  • Smart Contracts: Ethereum’s key feature is its extensive support for smart contracts, which can autonomously execute voting logic, handle registration, vote tallying, and result declaration.
  • High Security: As one of the most secure blockchain networks, Ethereum benefits from a vast network of nodes, enhancing decentralization and resistance to attacks.
  • Active Development: Ethereum is continually being improved, with upgrades like Ethereum 2.0 that aim to enhance scalability and reduce gas fees via a shift to Proof of Stake (PoS).


  • Scalability Issues: Despite improvements, Ethereum can still face scalability issues with high transaction costs and slower processing times during peak usage, which could be problematic in large-scale elections.
  • Complexity and Cost: Developing on Ethereum requires specific expertise in its programming language, Solidity, and can incur high deployment and operational costs due to variable gas prices.

Hyperledger Fabric


  • Permissioned Network: Unlike Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric is a permissioned network, which means it allows greater control over who can participate in the network—beneficial for a voting system requiring identity verification and regulatory compliance.
  • Modularity: Fabric is highly modular, allowing organizations to plug in their own components and services as needed, such as different consensus mechanisms that could be tailored for the needs of a voting system.
  • No Cryptocurrency Involved: Fabric doesn’t require a native cryptocurrency to operate, which simplifies the transaction process and avoids issues related to cryptocurrency volatility.


  • Complex Setup and Management: Setting up a Hyperledger Fabric network can be complex due to its modularity and the need for detailed network configuration and management.
  • Limited Public Verification: Being a permissioned network, the transparency and verifiability to the general public might be less than that provided by a public blockchain.



  • On-chain Governance: Tezos allows stakeholders to vote on protocol upgrades, which could be beneficial for a voting system needing frequent updates or modifications based on legislative changes.
  • Formal Verification: Tezos supports smart contracts and allows for formal verification of code, which helps ensure the correctness of the contract execution according to its formal specifications—crucial for the security of a voting system.
  • Proof of Stake: Utilizes a more energy-efficient PoS consensus mechanism, which is better suited for environments conscious of energy consumption and operational costs.


  • Smaller Developer Community: Compared to Ethereum, Tezos has a smaller developer community, which might affect the availability of tools and resources needed for development and troubleshooting.
  • Lesser Known: Being less well-known than Ethereum, there might be fewer experts readily available to help with setup, development, and maintenance.

51% Attack on Smaller Blockchains

In the realm of blockchain technology, one notable vulnerability especially relevant to smaller, less decentralized networks is the 51% attack. This type of attack occurs when a single entity or group gains control of more than 50% of the network’s mining power, stake, or voting power. Here’s how this impacts smaller blockchains:

  • Control over Blockchain: If an attacker gains majority control, they can manipulate the recording of new transactions into the blockchain. They could potentially halt transactions from being confirmed, prevent other miners from completing blocks, or even reverse transactions to double-spend coins.
  • Impact on Trust: A 51% attack undermines the integrity and trustworthiness of a blockchain. In the context of a digital voting system, such an attack could be devastating, as it might enable the alteration of votes or disruption of the electoral process.
  • Vulnerability of Smaller Networks: Smaller blockchains are particularly susceptible to this type of attack because they have fewer nodes or less distributed hash power, making it easier and less costly for an attacker to achieve the majority control needed to manipulate the blockchain.

Choosing Between Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS)

When selecting a consensus mechanism for a blockchain used in digital voting, the choice between Proof of Work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS) is critical:

Proof of Work (PoW)

  • How It Works: PoW requires participants (miners) to solve complex cryptographic puzzles in order to validate transactions and create new blocks. The first miner to solve the puzzle gets the right to add the block to the blockchain and is rewarded.
  • Pros: Highly secure due to the energy and computational power required to perform the work. It’s proven in large networks like Bitcoin.
  • Cons: Energy-intensive, which raises environmental concerns and can be less efficient. Over time, mining can become centralized as larger entities afford more computational power, potentially increasing vulnerability to attacks.

Proof of Stake (PoS)

  • How It Works: In PoS, validators are chosen to create new blocks based on the number of coins they hold and are willing to “stake” as a form of security. The more stake, the higher the chances of being chosen to validate transactions.
  • Pros: More energy-efficient than PoW as it does not require extensive computational work. It promotes greater decentralization as anyone holding tokens can potentially validate transactions, depending on the specific design of the PoS system.
  • Cons: While generally secure, PoS can be susceptible to the “nothing at stake” problem where validators might have incentives to support multiple blockchain histories, potentially leading to issues like double-spending.

Let’s compare

Blockchain-Based Voting System


  • Increased Security and Integrity: Blockchain’s decentralized nature helps prevent tampering and fraud. Each transaction (vote) recorded is verified by multiple nodes, making unauthorized changes virtually impossible.
  • Transparency and Traceability: Every action on the blockchain is recorded in a transparent ledger and is immutable. This traceability builds voter confidence as it provides a clear, auditable trail of all votes cast.
  • Reduced Risk of System Failure: The distributed architecture of blockchain reduces the risk of system-wide failures. No single point of failure exists, as the data is replicated across many nodes.
  • Voter Anonymity and Privacy: Advanced cryptographic techniques can be used to ensure voter privacy while maintaining public verifiability of the election process.


  • Scalability Challenges: Blockchains, particularly those using Proof of Work, can face issues with scalability and throughput, potentially leading to slower transaction times during high-volume periods like elections.
  • Complexity and Cost: Implementing a blockchain solution requires specific technical expertise and can be costly due to development, operation, and maintenance expenses. Additionally, the cost of transactions (gas fees in networks like Ethereum) can fluctuate, complicating budget predictions.

Traditional Digital Voting System (Centralized)


  • Simplicity and Control: Centralized systems are generally simpler to set up and manage compared to decentralized blockchains. Administrators have full control over the system, which can simplify operations and decision-making.
  • Scalability: Traditional databases can handle large transaction volumes more efficiently than many blockchain solutions, offering faster processing times without the need for consensus mechanisms.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Initial setup and maintenance costs for traditional systems can be lower than blockchain-based systems, primarily if existing infrastructure is used.


  • Security Risks: Centralized systems have a single point of failure. If the central server is compromised, the entire voting integrity can be at risk.
  • Lack of Transparency: Unlike blockchain, traditional systems do not inherently provide a transparent audit trail. This can lead to trust issues among voters regarding the accuracy and integrity of the vote count.
  • Potential for Tampering: Centralized systems are more vulnerable to internal fraud and tampering, as control over the election data is concentrated in a single entity.


While blockchain introduces enhanced security, transparency, and a reduced risk of centralized failure, it also brings challenges such as scalability and increased complexity. The choice between a blockchain-based system and a traditional centralized digital voting system should be guided by specific electoral requirements, budget constraints, technical expertise availability, and the desired level of transparency and security.

For many, the balance between these factors will dictate the best path forward. If the primary concerns are security and public trust, blockchain could be a superior choice. However, if scalability and cost are more critical, a traditional centralized approach might still be the best solution. Each method has its merits and limitations, and the decision should align with the overarching goals and constraints of the electoral body.

Blockchain Voting Debate: The MIT Perspective

In the midst of a pandemic, the idea of conducting elections online has gained traction. Tech start-ups have even championed the use of blockchain technology, claiming it would enhance voter turnout and bolster public trust. However, a recent paper by a team of MIT cybersecurity experts (issued 2020) strongly opposes any form of blockchain-based voting and raises concerns about online voting in general.

Why Blockchain-Based Voting Faces Opposition

  1. Vulnerability to Hacking: The team asserts that online voting is more susceptible to hacking than in-person or mail-in voting. Unlike physical mail-in ballots, online voting relies on software systems vulnerable to large-scale attacks. Exploiting a single vulnerability could impact every ballot simultaneously.
  2. Undetectable Changes: Blockchain-based approaches are prone to “serious failures.” These failures involve situations where election results are altered in ways that are undetectable. Even if detected, rectifying such changes would necessitate an entirely new election.
  3. Software Independence: Blockchain systems lack a crucial quality called “software independence.” Voters must trust the software they use, but a single bug could silently alter their vote. Only paper ballots currently allow voters to directly verify that their ballot accurately reflects their intended choice.

MIT’s Stance on Blockchain Voting

  • Ron Rivest, co-creator of RSA public-key encryption and senior author of the MIT paper, emphasizes that while current election systems are imperfect, adopting blockchain would significantly increase the risk of undetectable, nation-scale election failures. Any increase in voter turnout would come at the cost of losing meaningful assurance that votes were accurately counted.
  • Mike Specter, a paper co-author, has previously highlighted serious security vulnerabilities in blockchain-based voting systems. These vulnerabilities enable attackers to monitor votes and even manipulate or block ballots.

Addressing Industry Parallels

  • Proponents of online voting often cite successful online security in industries like retail and banking. However, the MIT team raises two objections:
    1. Unique Needs: Voting in political elections has unique requirements that differ from retail or banking transactions.
    2. Additional Issues: Blockchain-based voting introduces additional problems rather than solving existing ones.

In summary, while the allure of blockchain technology is strong, its application to voting systems remains contentious. Democracy cannot hinge on software correctness alone, and the consent of the governed demands robust, verifiable voting mechanisms123.

For those interested in the full report, you can find it here4.

The Role of Physical HSMs in PKI: Ensuring Security through Hardware

When managing digital security, the integrity and protection of cryptographic keys is paramount. One of the most secure ways to manage these keys is through the use of a Physical Hardware Security Module (HSM) within a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). This detailed...

Embracing the Future: The Serverless Approach to Web Development

In an era where digital transformation drives business strategy, the agility and efficiency of web development processes are paramount. Enter the serverless approach—a paradigm shift in how applications are built, deployed, and managed. This blog post explores the...

Unraveling the Power of Popular WordPress Frameworks: A Comprehensive Guide

WordPress stands as a titan in the world of web development, powering an impressive portion of websites across the globe. Its flexibility, ease of use, and extensive plugin ecosystem make it the go-to content management system for businesses, bloggers, and developers...

Unraveling DNS Stub Zones: Enhancing Your Network’s DNS Architecture

In the complex web of network administration, DNS (Domain Name System) plays a crucial role in translating human-friendly domain names into IP addresses that computers use to communicate. Among the various strategies to optimize this resolution process, DNS stub zones...

Understanding LAPS: The Local Administrator Password Solution

In the realm of IT security, managing local administrator accounts across an organization's computers can be a daunting task. With the advent of LAPS, the Local Administrator Password Solution, businesses have a powerful tool at their disposal to automate and enhance...

Streamlining Data Transformation: Navigating from PostgreSQL to SQL Server

In the realm of data management and integration, the challenge of efficiently migrating or transforming data between different database platforms is a common hurdle faced by many IT professionals. Recently, we embarked on a journey to streamline the data flow from a...

Understanding VMware Clusters: A Non-Techie’s Guide

Introduction If you're not a tech expert, terms like "VMware clusters" might seem like complex jargon. But fear not! Understanding this concept is simpler than you might think. Imagine you're orchestrating a symphony. Each musician (or computer server, in our case)...

Ansible: The Modern-Day Tool for the Digital Pioneer

Introduction: Modern Homesteading with Ansible Hey there, seasoned pioneer! Remember the days of setting up a homestead? You’d survey the land, build your structures, and maintain them—all by hand, relying on your tools and know-how. In today’s digital world, we have...

IAC (Infrastructure as Code) Approach

The Infrastructure as Code (IAC) approach is a transformative methodology that automates and manages the infrastructure through code rather than through manual processes. It treats servers, databases, networks, and other infrastructure elements as software code in...

Terraform: Pioneering Infrastructure as Code for the Modern Pioneer

Introduction: Embracing the Terraform Revolution Hey there, pioneer of the digital frontier! Remember the days when provisioning infrastructure meant physically installing servers, networking gear, and storage systems? Fast forward, and the landscape has dramatically...