Rhys Lindmark

MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative – Why We Need Blockchain Ethics

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have the potential to change the world in meaningful ways. And this change may drastically impact people’s lives – both for the better and for the worse. While ethics are often discussed for technologies like AI, the ethical considerations around blockchain technologies have received less focussed attention.

We’re joined by Rhys Lindmark, Head of Community and Long-Term Societal Impact at the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative. Previously the host of the podcast “Creating a Humanist Blockchain Future,” Rhys’ approach to blockchain was always about considering its potential impact. Since joining the DCI, his podcast, now “Gray Mirror,” continues to explore these questions. He has also recently started teaching a blockchain ethics course with the DCI’s Director, Neha Narula.

Topics we discussed in this episode
  • Rhys’ background as a podcaster and proponent of Effective Altruism
  • His advocacy work around universal tithing and donating to charity
  • The controversy surrounding the MIT Media Lab and the resignation of their Director Joi Ito
  • The difference between ethics and morals
  • Why we need to study blockchain ethics
  • Should we have ethics committees in blockchain as there exists about AI
  • The ethical considerations for different use cases and applications of blockchain technology
  • The role of miners and should they have ethical obligations to censor certain transactions
  • The DCI’s blockchain ethics class and what students learn
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