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Delaware Judge Urges Investors to Protect Votes on the Blockchain

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:52 PM
Rebecca Campbell
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:52 PM

A Delaware judge is urging institutional investors to use the blockchain as a way of protecting their voting rights, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal .

Last month, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster, presented a speech at the Council of Institutional Investors advising shareholders that the blockchain could help to remove the middleman when it comes to how shares are held and voted.

According to Laster, the current system is outdated and too complex making it difficult to determine who actually owns a share and how it’s used in corporate decision making.

At present, shareholders are known as ‘beneficial’ owners despite the fact that their names aren’t listed on the books, according to the WSJ. More effort, therefore, is required to undertake all voting rights. However, Laster states that this process means there are too many middlemen involved to figure out who owns a vote to ensure that a vote has been cast.

As a way of cutting down on the cost of money and mistakes, Laster believes that the use of the distributed ledger would ensure transparency, giving voters the peace of mind to know that their votes had been counted.

Blockchain Voting

The use of blockchain technology for voting purposes has been done before.

Earlier this month, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) developed an e-voting platform based on the blockchain technology. The aim of it is to allow shareholders of listed companies on the exchange to vote during yearly general meetings.

Bitcoin ATM developer and blockchain technology firm, Blockchain Technologies Corp (BTC) announced that it was creating a tamper-resistant blockchain voting machine called the ‘VoteWatcher.’ Its intention is to ensure that the voting machine captures the voter’s intent correctly and to safeguard voters’ trust that their votes have been counted.

Whereas the Australian government-owned Australia Post unveiled earlier this year that it plans to conduct tests through digital voting through bitcoin’s underlying distributor, the blockchain, in a bid to cut costs and improve efficiency.

Of course, with blockchain technology proving quite popular within many sectors it’s understandable that many will be turning to it for greater transparency.

According to the WSJ, T. Rowe Price found a quirk in the system which meant that it wasn’t able to vote the way that it wanted to during the 2013 buyout of Dell Inc. Laster argues that a blockchain system would have made this process far easier ensuring everything was being followed correctly.

He said:

This is a carpe diem moment. You can take the lead on distributed ledger technology, or you can let the intermediaries replace one intervening institution with another.


Featured image from Shutterstock.