Mobile-focused voting firm Voatz immediately introduced a $2.2 million seed spherical to roll out blockchain-based voting within the U.S.
One of blockchain know-how’s massive guarantees is that it will likely be a democratizing power, and the blockchain group has lengthy talked about making voting safer, dependable, and unhackable. In reality, numerous international locations and firm boards are already testing out numerous blockchain-based voting options.
Voatz (pronounced “votes”) combines biometrics and blockchain tech to allow safe, auditable elections. The platform is at present in beta launch. It runs on a public permissioned blockchain constructed on the HyperLedger framework and doesn’t use any type of cryptocurrency, so the corporate has no plans for an ICO.
While $2.2 million could sound like small change in an period when blockchain corporations are pulling in vital sums of cash in token presales and ICOs, Voatz considers itself an elections firm at the start — one which makes use of blockchain to repair what’s damaged with the electoral infrastructure. “So in that respect, it’s considerably totally different from a ‘typical’ blockchain startup,” Voatz cofounder and CEO Nimit Sawhney instructed VentureBeat.
Plenty of universities, labor unions, state political events, church teams, and nonprofits are already utilizing Voatz for voting, totaling some 70,000+ voters, the corporate mentioned in an announcement. While the platform is at present obtainable by invitation solely, it would have a broader rollout “within the coming weeks.”
In addition to bringing extra transparency to the voting course of, by letting folks vote by way of their cellular gadgets “Voatz tackles two of the core challenges in voting — low participation in native elections and the necessity for higher citizen engagement,” mentioned Julie Lein, managing companion of the Urban Innovation Fund, which participated within the funding introduced immediately.
So what does the answer price to roll out? “Depending on the kind of election/voting concerned, the beginning prices are a minimum of 50 p.c cheaper on an annual foundation than the prices of the present/conventional infrastructure,” mentioned Sawhney. “Early movers can avail themselves of particular reductions, corresponding to one yr free whereas signing up for a minimal three-year contract.”
Voatz relies in Boston and has an eight-person group. The startup is a graduate of the Techstars Boston 2017 and MassChallenge Boston 2017 applications.
Voatz will use the brand new funding to increase its enterprise improvement group within the U.S. and internationally and to speed up improvement of latest product options “corresponding to integrating with conventional/present electoral infrastructure [and adding] assist for extra cellular gadgets,” Sawhney instructed VentureBeat. “The firm additionally plans to formally enter the EAC [Election Assistance Commission] certification course of later in 2018.” Once it has that certification, it would doubtless goal bigger deployments, he mentioned.
Medici Ventures, launched by Overstock.com in 2014 to put money into blockchain applied sciences, led the spherical. (Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne was an early blockchain convert and lately introduced plans to dump the house items ecommerce a part of Overstock.com to focus solely on blockchain know-how.)
Oakhouse Partners additionally participated within the spherical, as did angel buyers Walt Winshall, Michael Dornbrook, Ty Danco, Tom Williams, Joe Caruso, and members of the Walnut Ventures angels group.
The Voatz group beforehand raised practically $600,000 in pre-seed funding. It additionally gained $100,000+ in non-equity money awards by startup competitions and hackathons, in response to Sawhney.
Other Medici Ventures investments embrace TZero, PeerNova, Bitt, SettleMint, Factom, IdentityMind, Spera, and Symbiont.
This article sources data from VentureBeat