In this opinion piece, Baird and Chan argue that we’d like a requirement of care today, for a humanised blockchain future tomorrow.
Blockchain’s public interface, at its most elementary , may be a string of shared data made from a series of uniquely ordered alphabetical letters and numbers, timestamped and immutable.
Yet, through this, blockchain can fundamentally change existing organisational structures, not merely as an evolutionary development, but potentially as a transformational technology. While it continues to develop, we’d like explore the opportunities that blockchain technology offers and therefore the consequences of not getting it right.
To do this, we believe we should always zero in on one area that has not yet received an equivalent level of attention or investment: the human aspect of the blockchain, and the way it could underpin the technologies that impact our everyday lives.
Together, we’d like to spot some guiding principles on how we will shape an underlying duty of care, bringing together great minds within the fields of entrepreneurship, investing, academia, sustainability, charities and policymaking to tackle this challenge.
Defining ‘good’ in an age of latest value
We live during a world where ‘for good’ has become zeitgeist and is usually interpreted as ‘social good’. However to line the scene of the discussion it’s really important to notice that ‘for good’ isn’t limited to non-profit activities or the third sector.
There are incredibly varied views of what ‘for good’ means – for creative industries, it’s transparency and fair distribution of royalties; for refugees, it’s establishing or protecting identity; for charities, it’s about accountability; and for state , it’s about delivering better services to the general public .
But what was interesting is that the commonality between the interpretations of ‘for good’ – the notion of making new value, under a framework of ethics and clear moral intentions. When considering how blockchain are often used permanently , it’s important that we glance at its relationship with creating new value.
Businesses which will still thrive tomorrow, are going to be those with a transparent purpose underpinned by a commitment that balances the triple bottom line of individuals , profit and planet.
Where there’s a vision of utopia, there’s an equal possibility of dystopia. we’ve already seen cases where bad actors have manipulated projects supported blockchain technology quicker than the community can prevent attacks.
There is a second way where we don’t get blockchain right, which may be equally systemic. Unless there’s an unambiguous and clearly defined ethical system, there are often no ethics.
A lack of an ecosystem and, perhaps worse still, a manipulated ecosystem, would fundamentally undermine the principles on which blockchain has been built: a transparent, immutable and distributed ledger.
The best-case scenario is that we find yourself with an outsized number of unconnected, private blockchain networks. But the worst-case scenario is that see the emergence of monopolies that shape the event of blockchain technology that benefit the privileged few at the value of others.
Blockchain can recast trust relationships between government, people and business. because the Edelman’s Trust Barometer, a survey of over 30,000 individuals globally, suggests, there’s a widening trust gap between these three groups. Blockchain technology offers a replacement model which will help solve now of crisis.
We believe we’ve distilled five areas that ought to be considered when developing a duty-of-care manifesto:
Blockchain technology doesn’t allow vested interest in anybody individual and power is given by consensus. As such, this creates network integrity and enables transparency intentionally . The principle of users having the ability to use, but to not manipulate, the system should be an underlying principle for enabling the technology to be used permanently .
Authentication and new trust
One aspect that must be considered is how a distributed ledger would impact data privacy, data ownership and misuse of knowledge .
Transparency and balance
How can these functionalities be wont to enable good? There must be balance and compromise. there’s no point using blockchain with an equivalent frame of mind like our existing economy and system.
Incentivised and accelerated value
The decentralised structure of blockchain technology passes value through to individuals. As such, there’s no central authority setting economic policies or regulating the distribution, the motivation for action is open and put within the hands of everyone as there’s a good value exchange.
The role of communications
If we’re integrating blockchain technology into government infrastructure, it’s essential that we specialise in deployment in places where it’s needed most. it’s important that call makers and policymakers are properly engaged. To safeguard the longer term of blockchain technology, ensuring it’s getting used permanently and trusted, there’s an onus for everybody – industry and government, and people communicating on its behalf – to try to to so responsibly.
What is clear is that we do require a federated model – a guiding hand, to line the vision and principles to enable its success, for the greater good – whilst allowing verticals or countries to control their specific areas. To be clear, this is often not a government, a centralised organisation or maybe regulation, but policy and principles that document a requirement of look after blockchain technology.
The Blockchain permanently white book and manifesto are often read here.