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Russian opposition develops ZKP voting application to support legitimate elections

Russian opposition develops ZKP voting application to support legitimate elections

To challenge the legitimacy of the recent Russian elections and Vladimir Putin’s subsequent inauguration as president, a human rights activist and former lawyer for the protest group Pussy Riot, Mark Feygin, has announced a polling application, Russia2024, using zero-knowledge cryptography.

The platform is an open-source solution designed to be surveillance-free, leveraging blockchain and zero-knowledge cryptography. This ensures that the user can participate in polls and votes without their identity being tracked or exposed, providing a high level of privacy and security, the announcement says.

“It is critical that we provide reliable, surveillance-proof avenues for protest and polling. Russia2024 and its underlying technology has enabled that,” says Mark Feygin, former Pussy Riot lawyer, in a press release shared with Crypto Briefing.

The application facilitates the issuance of anonymous voting passes to citizens through passport scanning with their mobile devices. Subsequently, the votes are securely stored on the blockchain and become accessible for public viewing after the conclusion of the voting process. Notably, the voting data is directly published on Arbitrum, an Ethereum Layer 2 (L2) solution.

Freedom Tool, the open source technology behind the Russia2024 application, was built by Rarilabs, a Kyiv-based company specializing in privacy-first social protocols. It utilizes machine-readable passport information as the initial step in the authentication process, as outlined in the project’s whitepaper. This passport information is decrypted and verified on the user’s device to ensure the security of sensitive data.

Upon successful authentication of the user’s identity, a keypair is generated to interact with the app’s smart contract. Additionally, the zero-knowledge cryptography method is employed to sever the link between the user’s pass and passport data, preventing personal information from being traced back to the individual.

Subsequent to this announcement, the Kremlin has taken various measures to impede the app’s use, including legal actions, temporary removal from the Apple Store, and sponsoring negative reviews. Mark Feygin’s initiative poses a significant political challenge to the Russian government, but there remains skepticism regarding its effectiveness.

“Freedom Tool was built to help give a voice to people living in regimes. Its implementation in Russia is an early example of how blockchain and zero-knowledge cryptography can meet the urgent need around the world for privacy technology,” says Lasha Antadze, co-founder of Rarilabs.

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