THE DEMOCRATIC CHAIN. Blockchain in the Context of Swedish Electoral Pro-cesses: Applying a Need-Solution Pairing approach with a lens of Legitimacy.

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Institutionen för tillämpad informationsteknologi

Sammanfattning: Blockchain has been studied extensively in the literature regarding its plausible application on a series of fields. In the same line, the application of Blockchain for public electoral processes has begun to be a matter of study in recent years. However, to our knowledge, most of the existing literature is dominated by what we have decided to call “ad-hoc” proposed solutions with the focus on a specific country, geography, or jurisdiction; so far without any successful cases being documented until the time this thesis was submitted (August 2023). This thesis reviews the mentioned literature and claims possible requirements and motivations that electoral authorities might have, to get Blockchain implemented into their electoral processes, have not been correctly nor fully addressed. On the other hand, we propose a more comprehensive view in the attempt implementing Blockchain for electoral processes, starting with a less rigid initial problem setting. Instead, the problem setting can be defined parallelly while searching for plausible solutions. Therefore, the so-called “Need-Solution Pairing” approach from Von Hippel & Von Krogh (2016) was chosen as a basis for this means. Furthermore, we conducted this thesis selecting the research from Suddaby et al. (2017) about “Legitimacy” as lens; with the aim to find out how the different functional, social, and cultural relationships could influence the adoption of a new technology -in this case Blockchain- in a process subject of public scrutiny and with a high demand of transparency, such as elections. Besides the mentioned approach and lens, in Section 2 an extensive overview of the relevant literature regarding the evolution of the Blockchain technology and its adoption studies across as series of fields, with a stress on e-voting, is provided. Additionally, in section 4 the Data Collection was performed by carrying out interviews among three different profiles of interviewees classified as: Electoral Officials (Organizers of the elections), Researchers (Academicians who have conducted studies about Blockchain regarding e-voting) and Practitioners (Industry Professionals in the Development of Digital Solutions). This triangle of perspectives was chosen with the intention to show that the adoption of a new technology, or the digitalization of a traditional paper-based process (such as elections in Sweden), implies much more than technical feasibility evaluations, rather; such implementation should be prestudied and navigated through a wider range of views, going from legal, organizational, and technical aspects and challenges.

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