Rarimo introduces ZK-based voting tool for secure, anonymous participation

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Rarimo, an interoperability protocol for decentralizing social identity, has released a zk-based voting platform called “Freedom Tool.”

Freedom Tool is a citizen-run, anonymous election utility that allows individuals to confidentially confirm their eligibility to participate in governance measures, without publicly compromising their personal information.

This means anyone can build a voting system that enables individuals or communities to express their opinions freely without privacy concerns or fear of retribution from authoritative regimes.

Read more: Self-sovereign identity is not enough

Traditional voting systems often have issues with voter credibility and only offer moderate voter privacy. Casting and counting votes are often conducted manually, or are reliant on outdated electronic systems, which are subject to errors and tampering. These issues often stem from the centralized nature of how votes are conducted, wherein the integrity of the process is reliant on the security of just a handful of systems and entities.

Freedom Tool leverages blockchain technology’s inherent strengths as a timestamping database to securely record and publish each vote in a publicly verifiable and tamperproof way. It uses zero-knowledge identity management to ensure that every vote is cast by an eligible voter, without sacrificing the full anonymity of each participant.

Users can create personalized voter profiles by scanning their mobile phone’s biometric passport information. The app will then authenticate the user’s credentials using zero-knowledge cryptography and issue an anonymous identity pass that can be used for voting.

To ensure that user privacy is maintained, only the identity pass can be used to interact with the external voting setup. This means that passport information is not shared externally and passport data will remain private without passing through servers.

As all votes would be published onto the blockchain, it will mean that no one will be able to tamper with the vote itself, and that auditors will be able to ensure that there are no repeat or fraudulent votes.

“Communities are free to set their own electoral terms, defining which candidates are on the ballot and who is able to vote. In regions where opposition is barred from running, and minority groups systematically excluded from voting, this capability will shift power back towards the people,” Lasha Antadze, the co-founder at Rarilabs, told Blockworks.

Antadze notes that the Rarimo team believes that the Freedom Tool will show that privacy is critical to democracy, and that it hopes that this launch will dispel suspicions levied against the Cypherpunk movement. 

Read more: Old money doesn’t ruin the cypherpunk dream

“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, or so goes the common saying. But in many parts of the world, exercising basic human rights [like] the right to protest leaves people with much to fear and nowhere to hide. Freedom Tool seeks to change this,” Antadze said.

Antadze explains that part of the cypherpunk promise is to defend privacy, and that there has been a growing community of blockchains that are now focused on developing privacy solutions with zero-knowledge technology. 

“We are proud to be part of this mission and to contribute to a new version of the internet where users can roam free of dangerous and invasive surveillance practices. The greatest gift technology can give humanity is liberation,” he said.

The first on-the-ground implementation of the Freedom Tool will launch in the coming weeks. It will be an opposition app in “an Eastern Europe regime,” Antadze notes. He explains that this app will enable dissidents to anonymously register their opinions on various political and electoral issues through surveillance-free petitions and polls and opportunities to vote for alternative electoral candidates.

“This will help organize and unite citizens in their fight for a new political system and leaders,” he said.

Read more: DeFi has not followed through on its privacy promises — yet

Ultimately, Antadze believes that the Freedom Tool will continue Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto’s goal to place power into the hands of the people. 

“Blockchain’s journey began with separating money and state, and we aim to extend this principle to identity, which is equally essential for individual liberty in the modern era,” he said. 

He added that “the development of Freedom Tool was highly horizontal, collaborative and decentralized. So many of the essential blocks were built by brave developers working in politically unsafe environments. We are unable to name them, but want to thank them for their amazing contributions.”

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Rarimo introduces ZK-based voting tool for secure, anonymous participation is written by Bessie Liu for blockworks.co

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