An unofficial referendum pursued by the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó took place over the weekend in Venezuela powered by a blockchain platform, while at the same time, parliamentary elections called by the president Nicolás Maduro also had its scenario in a widely criticized, qualified by many countries as a “fraud.”
Venezuela’s Guaidó Orchestrated Parallel Referendum via Blockchain Platform
According to Spanish media outlet ABC, over 6.5 million Venezuelans cast their votes via Voatz, a U.S. blockchain-powered platform used for democracy-related purposes, where citizens were asked to decide whether or not Maduro should resign or not, and also restore international relations “to address the humanitarian crisis and rescue democracy.”
Voatz offered the possibility to cast votes via a mobile app from December 7 to 11 and through Telegram, a chat app widely used among the crypto community. Also, people can participate on-site in selected locations across the country and overseas.
Such a platform has been previously used by authorities in West Virginia, Colorado, and Utah, but has also been the subject of controversy due to concerns about its safety.
Guaidó decided to orchestrate the parallel referendum due to his boycott of what he called a “widescale fraud” over the weekend. Maduro’s administration took control of the National Assembly, which claimed victory by 70%, although many countries dispute such a figure.
Emilio Graterón, a coordinator of the political command of the unofficial referendum, commented about the security brought by the platform and how people could feel safe that their identity is not at risk to end in the hands of Maduro’s government:
The process is reliable, and the people who participated in-site today [on Saturday] have their identity protected. There will not be any trace of participation, and they can rest assured about it. All notebooks and ballots will be destroyed immediately when the totalization transmission is complete.
Venezuelan Opposition and Crypto Community
The fact that Guaidó is endorsing blockchain to pursue electoral processes is not a surprising move among the crypto community.
On November 20, 2020, stablecoin issuer Circle expressed its support to the Venezuelan opposition leader, even referring to him as the “President-elect.”
In the same announcement, the company said that in collaboration with US-based fintech innovator Airtm, and coordination with the US government, they could offer “Guaidó’s government” their support via a fund leveraged by USDC.