Blockchain and cryptocurrency technology has attracted the interest of technologists, economists, lawyers, and activists around the globe. Although cryptocurrency is still in its infancy, some experts believe that it may have societal implications comparable to the Internet. If blockchain technology has even 10% of the Internet’s impact, we should take great care in developing it.
Unlike other fields of tech ethics (AI ethics, biotech ethics), the philosophical implications of cryptocurrency are not yet defined. Our collective journey—building the field of blockchain ethics—is both daunting and exciting.
In this course, the crucial question we will consider is: How can we positively shape the development of cryptocurrency technology? As a class we will endeavor to address this question by exploring the societal implications of blockchain technology including: cryptography, autonomous code, democratized incentive structures, and the evolution of blockchain communities. In addition to discussing the implications of the technology, students will learn about the context, history, impetus, and culture of blockchain technology, how the technology works, and the ways in which we can shape this technology through the law, societal norms, code, and markets.