Last week, the West African nation became the first to use blockchain technology as part of a presidential election. But contrary to some headlines, the vote wasn’t “blockchain-powered”— it was only blockchain-verified, and only sort of, at that.
The actual news: Agora, a Swiss company with a proprietary blockchain-based voting system, was one of the “accredited observers” providing an independent vote count for comparison to the main tally, according to CoinDesk. And the system only tracked votes cast in the country’s most populous district. But it did generate good press for the company, which is also pitching the software to other countries in Africa and Europe.
Why it matters: Blockchain technology has real potential for elections, since it can be used to create tamper-proof audit trails. Sierra Leone’s test was at least a step in the right direction.
But: How the data is entered in the first place is crucial. In Sierra Leone, 280 designated individuals manually counted votes and wrote the data to a permissioned blockchain—which could in theory allow those humans to tamper with the numbers. Agora’s CEO told CoinDesk that future versions will further reduce openings for fraud.
This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting
With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.
This artist is dominating AI-generated art. And he’s not happy about it.
Greg Rutkowski is a more popular prompt than Picasso.
VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence
On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.
This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine
Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.