Blockchain technology may have the ability and potential to change the, but many people are exaggerating the technology’s real benefits and accomplishments which can ruin public trust and confidence and draw the industry back.
The recent controversy and confusion surrounding the role of Agora, a blockchain the Sierra Leone presidential election is a case point. Although an executive from the company has since taken responsibility for the media coverage which exaggerated the company’s involvement.
During the election, Agora was appointed by the African nation’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) to act as an international observer in the Sierra Leone election. The company was however not involved in on the vote counting process. It however did an independent vote count that could be used as comparison for the official results? The company was to only confine itself to the country’s western districts and not the entire country.
Workers of the company who were on the ground recorded the tally manually on a private blockchain. This was the first time the technology was being used for such a function. Media houses however made the whole thing sound like Agora was in charge of running the entire election for the country on blockchain. One of the news the portrayed the whole exercise was ran by CoinDesk in an article titled “Sierra Leone Secretly Holds First Blockchain-Powered Presidential Vote.”
Discovering the mistake in the title and how misleading it could be to readers, CoinDesk changed the adjective to “Blockchain-Audited”. Additionally, the article that was initially posted did not make note that Agora was only confined to the Western district. These details were later added when the article was edited. The article did not also spell out the limited role which the company played as an observer in the election. This again was misleading to many readers.
CoinDesk had contacted NEC for a comment on that story but did not get any response by deadline. Another request for a comment has also not been answered. Much of the earlier media coverage generated a lot of fake news mostly directed at Agora. In its statement, NEC said it did not use blockchain in any way during the election.