|Key People||Nimit Sawhney, CEO and co-founder|
|Products||Mobile Applications, Elections & Polling, Security, and Civic Tech|
Participating in elections using the Voatz platform is only possible through invitation by a verified election organizer. The app verifies a user's identity by using a smartphone's built-in camera to take a "selfie-style" picture of their face. This picture is then compared to the photo on the user's government-issued photo ID. Votes cast by a user are then anonymized and recorded on the Voatz blockchain.
Voatz was created by Nimit Sawhney in 2014. In January 2018, the company announced it had raised $2.2 million in seed funding. By this point, over 70,000 voters had used the app in various elections in the United States. Medici Ventures is among its most notable investors.
In August 2018, the state of West Virginia announced it would be running a pilot program in its November 2018 elections, in which Voatz would be used to allow soldiers deployed abroad to easily vote using smartphones. West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner insisted that that the program is not an attempt to replace traditional voting, and soldiers will still have the option to cast paper ballots if they prefer. Nearly 140 West Virginians cast their ballots using the app.
In March 2020, West Virginia's secretary of state Mac Warner announced that the state of West Virigina would not be using Voatz in the 2020 election. The announcement came after two studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) revealed security vulnerabilities of the app. Later that month, Voatz' partnership with HackerOne, a "bug bounty" organization (an organization that pays programmers to locate bugs in software code for money) ended abruptly. According to HackerOne, the termination was due to a breach of “partnership standards,” though it declined to elaborate. Voatz described the incident as a "temporary pause" in its partnership with HackerOne. According to Voatz, the incident happened because HackerOne believed that Voatz had reported a researcher to the FBI, which Voatz denied, calling it "falsehood and misinformation." West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner said in October 2019 that the FBI was in the process of investigating an attempted breach of the app in 2018, though Warner insisted that no votes in any West Virginia elections had been altered.
Voatz was used by a voter in Utah County, Utah, in the 2020 U.S. presidential election on October 13. This first-ever presidential election vote on a blockchain was registered through a mobile device. The vote was cast for independent candidate Brock Pierce, who is a gaming and blockchain entrepreneur.
- Voatz. Linkedin.
- Voting Redefined. Voatz.
- Voting Redefined. Voatz.
- West Virginia to Offer Blockchain Voting Options for Midterms. Bitcoin Magazine.
- Nimit Sawhney. Linkedin.
- Voatz raises $2.2 million to make elections tamper-proof. Venturebeat.
- West Virginia will use blockchain-backed smartphone voting in 2018 midterms. Mashable.
- West Virginia to introduce mobile phone voting for midterm elections. CNN.
- After a stressful election, experts warn blockchain is not the answer. NBC.
- West Virginia Ditches Blockchain Voting App Provider Voatz. Coindesk.
- Election App Voatz Just Got Kicked Out of a Major Bug Bounty Program. Coindesk.
- Utah County Makes History With Presidential Blockchain Vote. Government Technology.
- First presidential vote cast using blockchain technology. Fox News.