Blockchain is best known as the backbone of Bitcoin. However, given that it is an open, verifiable digital ledger, diverse new uses are being found for it. Trai is the latest to join the blockchain bandwagon, with its new draft Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations 2018 proposing to regulate telemarketing communications through blockchain. The proposed system will use the digital ledger to capture all communications between telecom subscribers and entities, and will record customer consent/lack of it for telemarketing. While telemarketing firms register with telcos to get subscriber details, under the new system, only authorised agencies will get the details of only those subscribers who have agreed to receive such messages, and only at the time when they need to deliver a message. The digital ledger will record each instance of consent given, while maintaining subscriber confidentiality. The system will also be used to monitor for misuse of consent.
Meanwhile, the US is already experimenting with use of blockchain in voting. West Virginia, a state in the US, allowed blockchain-based internet voting in its primary elections earlier this month. The idea was to use a safe platform while preventing voter fraud. The American election regulator believes that this will pull down costs. In West Virginia, voter identity was established using biometrics before the vote was recorded on a mobile device.
With use of blockchain, each vote on this platform was recorded instantly on a publicly verifiable ledger while voter anonymity was maintained. The results are also available in real-time. In the US, several start-ups are already working on open-source, blockchain-based voting applications. Given that elections, even in the US, are getting tainted with allegations of being manipulated digitally, blockchain could prove an effective solution. – Financial Express