The cryptocurrency division of the investment fund Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) presented a protocol allowing anonymous voting on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. Named Cicada, this solution could find its place within decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO).
a16z presents an on-chain voting system
This week, the cryptocurrency arm of the fund Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) presented Cicada, an anonymous voting solution on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. More specifically, it is a protocol programmed in Solidity made available to developers, allowing the implementation of “time-locked puzzles”.
In other words, the content of the votes is encrypted for the duration of the ballot, so as not to influence its outcome. Indeed, the way votes on Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) currently work has some limitations.
On the one hand, a voter might wish to remain anonymous. In addition, knowing the progress of the results live can lead to manipulation.
To illustrate this, let’s imagine that the “Yes” is winning a proposal, a whale wishing to position itself against said proposal could wait before voting. The supporters of the “Yes” would then be incited not to come forward by telling themselves that their proposal will pass no matter what until this whale commits its tokens to assert his “No” at the last moment.
These reasons therefore motivated the development of the protocol:
“That’s why we’re releasing Cicada: a new open-source Solidity library that leverages time-locked puzzles and zero-knowledge proofs for on-chain private voting. »
👉 To go further — What are zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP) or zero-knowledge proofs?
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How does Cicada work?
To keep it simple, a cryptographic puzzle such as the one involved in Cicada allows you to encrypt the content of a bulletin for a period defined in advance using multiple encryption methods. Thus, the vote remains secret throughout the duration of the ballot.
However, this secrecy can only be guaranteed for this predetermined period. If someone wants to decipher another actor’s vote like knowing the positioning of a whale, they can. However, the protocol is constructed in such a way that the calculations needed to decipher the puzzle would take the same time as that established for the vote.
In addition, indefinite anonymity may be possible even after a vote is determined. by combining Cicada with the Semaphore protocolwhich also guarantees anonymity through zero-knowledge proofs.
While the first implementations will most certainly concern DAOs, such solutions could be developed in the future around various pillars, both blockchain can be a medium of choice to guarantee the authenticity of an election. In this segment, we can notably cite the V8TE technology, which is aimed more at associations.
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