Nasdaq Declares Blockchain Voting Trial a ‘Success’

Stan Higgins
Jan 23, 2017 at 15:00 UTC
NEWS

Exchange operator Nasdaq has released its conclusions about a blockchain e-voting trial it conducted in Estonia last year.

A new Nasdaq report, published today, details the project, which it unveiled in February 2016. At the time, the company's officials said they hoped to reduce both the complexity and cost of organizing shareholder votes as part of a bid to boost overall participation.

Overall, it concluded: "This model successfully demonstrated how a blockchain could be used for something other than transaction settlement."

Nasdaq leveraged information from Estonia’s e-Residency platform as a basis for creating voting accounts.

Working with blockchain startup Chain, Nasdaq developed a system in which digital assets signifying voting rights – and tokens to be used to actually cast votes – were distributed to shareholders. Nasdaq first announced its partnership with the startup in mid-2015.

Here’s how Nasdaq describes the system as it functions:

"The system uses the blockchain in the traditional way to record the ownership of securities as reported by the CSD. Based on those holdings, the system also issues voting right assets and voting token assets for each shareholder. A user may spend voting tokens to cast their votes on each meeting agenda item if they also own the voting right asset."

Feedback from the test was positive overall, the firm said. At the same time, participants highlighted the need for more mobile support, specifically a dedicated app through which votes could be cast.

Among those testing the solution were LHV Group, which has explored the tech in the past, developing a digital wallet that uses bitcoin as a payment rail.

Elsewhere, a number of exchanges worldwide have been exploring the same concept in recent months, along with proxy voting firms like Broadridge. Nasdaq's next steps include applying the framework and lessons learned from the Estonia project to other areas.

"We will explore how this successful [proof-of-concept] can potentially be applied to other Nasdaq internal and client-facing solutions," the company said.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Chain. 

Voting image via Shutterstock

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