How Bitcoin Blockchain Is Fighting Fraud in Guatemala's Presidential Elections
"Thanks to OpenTimestamps, a tool created by bitcoin developer Peter Todd a few years ago, Guatemalan tech startup Simple Proof is able to safeguard key documents about the country’s presidential elections from fraud and tampering."
"Simple Proof was implemented in that context by ITZ DATA as an immutable backup solution for the Guatemalan Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) –– the highest electoral authority in the country," reported Namcios for Bitcoin Magazine.
"The Simple Proof solution, named Immutable Backup, leverages the OpenTimestamps protocol to record proofs of documents in a tamper-evident manner on the bitcoin blockchain," Rafael Cordón, co-founder of Simple Proof, told Bitcoin Magazine.
"TSE used Simple Proof to safeguard official election documents and protect critical information from artificial intelligence and disinformation, ensuring that any tampering of documents is made evident and any citizen can independently verify the information for themselves."
"This was and still is being specially important in the context of Guatemala’s elections because of the tension there was leading up to the race, as well as the outlier candidate who ended up winning it. President-elect Bernardo Arévalo wasn’t expected to even qualify for the main race months before it took place."
"Once Arévalo won the presidential election, the outcry was massive. Officials from the office of the country’s attorney general, María Consuelo Porras, raided facilities of the TSE, opening dozens of boxes of votes, per AP. The opposing party, UNE, claimed the victory was fraudulent and demanded a vote recount."
"UNE posted a thread on X explaining their rationale with some alleged evidence –– including a screenshot of one tally sheet on Simple Proof’s web tool that showed it was timestamped before the polls closed."
"Either in an attempt to push their narrative or by mistake, the screenshot of that tally sheet was taken on a different timezone than the country’s capital official time, leading to the one-hour difference. In this specific case, bitcoin helped ensure the claims made by UNE were false, and any citizen was able to verify it by checking the timestamp on their computer."
"Notably, one did –– publishing a screenshot on X rectifying that the tally sheet UNE claimed had been tampered with had actually not been timestamped too early."
"In this case, it’s evident how Simple Proof played an important role in protecting key election information. Had OpenTimestamps and bitcoin not been a part of the process of securing that information in a cryptographic, public and decentralized manner, there could’ve been a much bigger outcry and tumultuous procedures to try to ensure the information hadn’t been tampered with."