Sierra Leone’s ‘Blockchain Election’ Deemed False

Correction:

On March 14th, BlockExplorer incorrectly reported that Sierra Leone became the first country to use a blockchain to capture votes during a presidential election. This article will clarify the extent of Agora’s involvement in Sierra Leone’s election.

What is Agora?

Agora is a Swiss-based voting technology company that has developed an end-to-end verifiable voting solution for governments and institutions. Their mission involves spreading fair and transparent elections around the world using blockchain technology.

The Claims

The company, Agora, claimed to have run the first blockchain-based election in Sierra Leone. Meanwhile, the company just observed the results and entered the data into their blockchain.

The Facts

— National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (@NECsalone) March 19, 2018
  • The National Electoral Commission (NEC) accredited Agora as an international observer of the March 2018 Sierra Leone presidential election.
  • Official election results only come from the NEC.
  • Agora’s results were published on our website five days before the end of the official manual count carried out by the NEC
  • The company’s results are very close to the NEC’s published results.
  •  The goal was to have this election demonstrate the company’s capabilities and open the door for further cooperation with the NEC in the future.

Honest Mistake or PR Stunt?

Prior to the NEC’s statement, Agora CEO Leonardo Gammar stated, “This is the first time a government election is using blockchain technology.” The misleading statement soon made headlines drawing praise from the blockchain community. The company has since taken to Medium to clarify its involvement and address criticism. Agora’s proof of concept demonstrates the potential of blockchain-based voting systems, however, the world’s first election officially using a blockchain is yet to occur.

 

Stuart Tweedie

Stuart discovered bitcoin in 2013 and has explored the rabbit hole ever since. He enjoys reporting on blockchain developments in traditional finance and emerging markets. Stuart grew up in the U.S. and Ghana and currently studies finance and entrepreneurship at the University of Baltimore.

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