The ICON (ICX) Foundation revealed today that their recently rebranded technology partner ICONLOOP had been chosen by the metropolitan government of Seoul to run a proof of concept demonstration of the Seoul Standard Blockchain Platform. The platform, if all goes according to plan, will ultimately be integrated into ‘all aspects of administrative services’ in the Korean capital.
ICONLOOP has emerged victorious from the ‘Cultivating Innovative Youth Talents 2018’ competition on September 12th and been selected to run the Seoul metropolitan government’s experiment in creating an official blockchain for city administration.
In the first, six-month trial run, dubbed the ‘Seoul Blockchain Demonstration Project,’ ICONLOOP will integrate their loopchain engine into the Seoul Standard Blockchain Platform for the use cases of used car trading and mobile-voting.
If the Seoul metropolitan government is satisfied with the results, the project will be expanded to include identity verification through government-issued citizen cards, mileage tracking for vehicles, subcontract payment and other services. The trial run will be overseen by Uracle, a Korean information retrieval service provider.
Transparency and Trust
The Seoul Standard Blockchain Platform is a highly ambitious project (though so is ICON), aiming to integrate transparency into all aspects of public administration, as well as to create trust in private transactions like used car sales, thus strengthening democracy and the economy both. Transparency and trust indeed are where blockchain shines.
Now, that said. We do have some concerns about mobile voting, and whether at this point voting is something we want to entrust to technology. Vote by mail is standard across the world, and blockchain technology could certainly be used to confirm that no error was made in tallying the votes (which has been a concern in a recent election in some countries that use voting machines).
However, that advantage over voting machines only exists if there is some way to check what someone voted for. Even if just the voter is given the private key needed to read that information, it opens the door to vote selling and intimidation. Which are crimes, of course, but then people do commit crimes?
And if no way exists to check what someone voted for, we are back to, effectively, long distance black box voting machines.
The scope of this project is impressive, and it would be fantastic if ICONLOOP can solve this particular issue, but many have tried in the past, and there is a reason most democracies stick with paper ballots.