What is Agora?
Formed in 2015, Agora is a Swiss-based voting technology company that has developed an end-to-end verifiable voting solution for governments and institutions. Today’s voting systems are slow, costly and exposed to many vulnerabilities that can inhibit free and fair elections. Our team of skilled cryptographers and security scientists has built a blockchain-based solution to provide our partners with a modern, provably secure and cost-effective manner of engaging voters. Elections on Agora’s network are tamper-proof throughout the entire voting process and offer full transparency to voters, third-party auditors and the general public.
Our team is passionate about spreading fair and transparent elections around the world, and we believe Agora has the potential to offer great value for global human rights. Agora was born from the combined work of Bryan Ford, who served as the Director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne’s (EPFL) Decentralized and Distributed System Lab (DEDIS) alongside his team of engineers and researchers, and Leonardo Gammar, an accomplished entrepreneur passionate about blockchain, who grew up in diplomatic circles.
Our team of cryptographers has already implemented several large-scale blockchain projects and has many years of experience in providing digital solutions for electoral systems. Of particular relevance, our team previously developed several centralized e-voting frameworks for Swiss Post and the State of Geneva before beginning work on Agora.
Agora stands out as the first blockchain voting solution that is architected to meet the performance needs of a mission critical election. Our technology runs on a custom blockchain that our team has been developing since 2015. In this whitepaper, we present three technological innovations developed by our team: Skipchain, Cotena and Valeda. Skipchain provides a consensus mechanism with high throughput and efficient transaction validation. Cotena then provides a method for storing cryptographic Skipchain proofs onto the Bitcoin blockchain. Finally, Valeda performs cryptographic proofs validating Skipchain and Cotena data. Our architecture provides end-to-end verifiability with a high level of security.
At the core, our company and technology strive to meet the evolving needs of modern voters. Not only do voters demand greater transparency in their elections, but they also demand more convenient methods of participating. Over the long run, we seek to enable any authorized voter to participate in an election through their own digital device, all while guaranteeing the security and transparency of the electoral procedure.