[WATCH] The Ethical Blockchain: Emerging tech as a tool for the greater good at AIBC Europe 2021

Category: Crypto Europe Executive Interview

In an AIBC Europe 2021 panel, five of the leading voices in emerging tech discuss how the Blockchain Revolution can be ethical, how decentralization could be a pillar for the future of charity and on the role purpose has in the future of a venture

With the effects of climate change becoming more and more palatable with every year and the United Nations Climate Change Conference within recent memory, innovators across the board must factor in the ecological effects of their technology.

Chaired and moderated by Dr. Justin Goldstone, a professor and Tedx speaker at Penn State University with a groundbreaking background in emerging technology and supply chain management, the panel was formed by Kristijan Glibo, the founder of Beyondi and Orcain.io, Jerry Lopez, founder and CEO of Philcoin, Meike Krautscheid, CCO and lead Blockchain consultant at Smart Ledger and Daniel Thompson-Yvetot, Co-Founder of Tauri Apps.

After being asked to introduce themselves and their accomplishments, the debate opened up with a discussion on one of the most striking aspects of this branch of emerging technology; its inherent orientation towards being decentralized and open-source. Given how most innovations throughout recent history were driven through institutional investment or under the remit of intellectual property, the Blockchain and related technological frameworks such as DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous organizations) and DeFi (Decentralized Finance) are inherently built as distributed systems.

On the culture underpinning this, Thompson-Yvetot spoke about how the demographic most enamored with DeFi tech are mainly in an age group that is more prone to idealism and possess a slant towards ethics in business.

“You have this general time in your life before you have a house and before you have kids that you can be really idealistic and I think that this is the idealism that spawned these blockchain innovations that we’re riding right now.”

Rather than deter this, Thompson-Yvetot argued that we should support this nascent community to accomplish their goals. To illustrate this, he reflected on his work on open-source software.

“If there was a problem with open-source that you might not know about, it’s the sustainability of it. Everybody sees it as free real estate, the maintainers of open source libraries burn out and suddenly your software is unmaintained, unpatched and full of vulnerabilities.”

The discussion then moved towards DAOs and their potential in terms of ecological and social activism. Dr. Goldstein, who has ample experience with DAOs as a founding member of Sydtek DAO and The Guild DAO, illustrated this aspect of decentralized organization by referring to his project’s work in purchasing carbon offsets and hence strengthening the ability for firms to act sustainably.

Gilbo elaborated on the example by referring to the inherent idiosyncrasies of DeFi technology; the ability to work via crowdsourcing and communitarian action. Referring to the use of vending machines in Indonesia to tokenize the recycling process and benefit the momentum of local initiatives, Gilbo agreed that DAOs can act as the glue that holds together community action and even helps them coordinate meaningfully. They could also help in directing donations and other forms of support during crises such as the 2020 floods in Germany.

While extremely energy intensive, the Blockchain Revolution could come to support innovation in terms of renewable energy rather than hinder it.

The third point brought up the role of purpose in decentralized projects and private initiatives in general. Building on the triple bottom line concept common in Business circles that diversify the priorities of a firm between profit, people and the planet, Dr. Goldstein elaborated on the need to expand that concept to add a fourth principle, that of purpose. To highlight this, he referred to a TEDx talk by Dr.Alex Edmonds. In a longitudinal study of the top 100 companies in the United States, Dr. Edmonds discovered that the firms that prioritized people and social responsibility outdid competitors that focused primarily on their bottom line every single year.

Referring to emerging technology, Gilbo elaborated that the decentralized nature of the Blockchain made the concept of purpose even more critical for the success of the operation especially given its strong basis in community oriented action.

“We can see Blockchains as non-government entities, they’re actually governed by miners. Miners are actually those who govern the blockchain. If they don’t want to update, you get the forks. So that’s the way forward from the perspective of the organization.”

Krautscheid agreed with the point but also stressed that the operations of most firms are still dictated by the limitations of their operational environment.

“But actually this consensus mechanism we think is very important because it gives an economic incentive to also bring the technology forward.”

Jerry Lopez also elaborated on the potential that emerging tech such as the metaverse and web 3.0 can have in redefining the idea of purpose and the possibility to achieve it. Reflecting on the argument that many of the crypto-communities are deeply environmentally conscious, he states that the impetus behind Blockchain technologies should be followed up with an even stronger focus on renewable energies such as the ongoing NFT project he is spearheading to protect the native forests of Bulgaria.

Can NFT projects be a crucial pillar in reforestation efforts?

Thompson-Yvetot articulated that, given the sheer scale of the operations at hand as well as the need to combat existential threats such as climate change, we may need to start seeing a code of conduct amongst engineers of all stripes.

“it’s really important that engineers start to think about taking something like a Hippocratic oath, which means you take responsibility for the monsters you bring into this world”

While this drew upon several highlights of the discussion, the panel itself covered a broad array of topics in depth. To browse other panels that covered subjects from DeFi to the Metaverse in AIBC Europe 2021, follow this.

AIBC returns to the United Arab Emirates:

Drawing the leading figures of the emerging tech world to the Middle Eastern metropoles for cutting edge technology, the 2022 AIBC UAE expo plans to unite the policy-makers, developers, C-suite executives, and legal experts of the burgeoning AI and Blockchain sectors. Through three days of educational panels, inspiring keynote speeches, workshops, and networking events, the expo seeks to create the foundation that the Industrial Revolution 4.0 can be built upon. Join us from the 20th to 23rd March 2022, in UAE.

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