[Exclusive] COMELEC Conducts Session Exploring Blockchain Use in Automated Election

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With additional reporting from Michael Mislos. This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.

First updated 3:15pm with additional photos.

Final update: Upon request from Binance’s external PR team, we changed Kenneth Stern’s designation to General Manager of Binance in the Philippines.

The Philippine Commission on Election (COMELEC) is taking a step forward to explore the use of blockchain technology in automated elections. As part of the three-day National Election Summit, which runs from March 8 to 10, 2023, the agency is conducting a breakout session titled “Use of Blockchain Technology in the Automated Election System.”

Kenneth Stern Al Vitangcol and Paul Soliman
Kenneth Stern Al Vitangcol and Paul Soliman at the COMELEC session blockchain usecase for automated elections.

National Election Summit Theme

The theme of this year’s summit, “Pagtutulungan sa Makabagong Halalan” (Working together for modern elections), highlights the importance of collaboration among stakeholders to modernize the country’s electoral processes.

Expected attendees of the summit include Senator Imee Marcos and Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

Local Blockchain Leaders in Attendance

Paul Soliman of Bayanichain/LIKHA is the resource speaker of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on blockchain usecase for automated elections.

Among the speakers during the session are Paul Soliman, CEO of Bayanichain, a blockchain and digital asset adoption company, and Kenneth Stern, the General Manager of Binance in the Philippines.

“While blockchain is not a silver bullet for solving all the challenges in election systems, it offers a promising approach for improving the transparency, security, and trust in the electoral process,” Soliman said during the breakout session. Soliman is also set to release a paper about the use of NFT and blockchain on elections next week.

While blockchain-based elections have been explored by various entities for years, the idea of adopting such a system in the Philippines has yet to gain significant traction. However, the benefits of this technology include improved transparency, immutability, and reaffirmed integrity, which could help address vote rigging and fraud. (Read More: Three Reasons Why Blockchain Can Prevent Election Fraud)

Discussions on Blockchain-Based Elections Since 2017

Smartmatic

The use of blockchain in elections has been a topic explored in the BitPinas publication since 2017, with Smartmatic Philippines, which was the provider for electronic voting systems in the country, looking at blockchain technology to facilitate elections in the future. The technology is said to improve elections by stopping vote rigging and fraud, with features such as transparency, immutability, and reaffirmed integrity.

Paul Soliman of Bayanichain/LIKHA is the resource speaker of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on blockchain usecase for automated elections.

2018

In 2018, Ann Cuisia, CEO of Traxion, also expressed confidence in the country’s readiness for blockchain-based elections, provided that the government works with the right providers and consultants.

Aside from the breakout session on blockchain use, other simultaneous sessions include the COMELEC Online Registration System and “Road towards Digitalization and Administrative and Electoral Processes”.

Also, Emerson Fonseca of then-NEM Philippines said: “If you’re going to vote someone then we can see it real time, the tally will be recorded in the blockchain real time, and anyone can access it. There’s no way for them to edit.”

It is worth noting that in April 2022, then-COMELEC spokesperson James Arthur B. Jimenez warned against using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and other electronic payments for vote-buying as it constitutes a crime.

Furthermore, in a penned article on BitPinas, CEO of Tetrix Emman Navalan argued that several countries, including Palau, Singapore, India, and South Korea, have already integrated blockchain technology into their ID systems. Some tech companies have also proposed similar solutions to the Philippine government, making the technology a viable option for the country’s National ID system.

This is a developing story.

This article is published on BitPinas: COMELEC Conducts Session Exploring Blockchain Use in Automated Election

Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.

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Nath Cajuday

BitPinas is the oldest blockchain and cryptocurrency news outlet that covers the Philippine blockchain and crypto scene. We are also writing general and international blockchain topics that are relevant to our audience.