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Nasdaq Hails Successful Blockchain Voting Tech Trial

Market exchange group Nasdaq has announced the success of its trial into using a blockchain for voting, in a major breakthrough that could open up significant new opportunities for the technology.

The e-voting pilot scheme was set up in Estonia, as a mechanism for handling shareholder voting rights. Nasdaq has today described the trial, announced in February 2016, as a major success, helping increasing shareholder participation while reducing the cost and technical challenges associated with shareholder votes.

According to Nasdaq’s conclusions from the trial, the “model successfully demonstrated how a blockchain could be used for something other than transaction settlement,” a substantial break from the majority focus on the technology.

With central banks, startups and government authorities alike increasingly focusing on blockchain development, the test demonstrates the potential versatility of the technology, beyond recording transactions and processing payments within the financial system.

This will no doubt be seen as good news by those developing blockchain technology for other uses beyond the finance industry. It is hoped that by reducing processing time and increasing accountability, the decentralized blockchain technology can have significant cost, efficiency and process gains for a variety of companies and services.

The system was met with widespread positive feedback from those participating in the trial, which seems to have surpassed expectations in terms of functionality. According to the report on its findings, Nasdaq described the system and its potential for overhauling shareholder participation more broadly.

“The system uses the blockchain in the traditional way to record the ownership of securities as reported by the CSD. Based on those holdings, the system also issues voting right assets and voting token assets for each shareholder. A user may spend voting tokens to cast their votes on each meeting agenda item if they also own the voting right asset."

The successful trial comes at a time when several other startups are explicitly examining shareholder voting rights and whether the blockchain could be used to improve voting processes.

Beyond its many applications in the banking and finance sector, Nasdaq’s blockchain trial will be welcomed by those exploring alternative uses for this new, developing technology.