Ethical Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency Software Engineering

What struck me most is the ethical dimension of software engineering. Could you expand a bit on that and give us some examples of ethical Bitcoin and cryptocurrency software engineering, according to you, if there is such a thing?

One of the great influences I had is a book by Lawrence Lessig, written in 1999 called “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace.”

Lessig said in it that when you build environments in virtual space which transcend borders, the code written to control those spaces, to decide who sees what and who has what access, and how widely the information is disseminated, become laws of the jurisdiction of cyberspace. They affect the social interaction between people.

As a coder, you are setting down standards for societal interaction.

You can create code that, as a form of speech, liberates billions of people. Or you can create a code for a totalitarian, dystopian, fascist nightmare.

If you write code that supports surveillance and the gross violation of the rights of others, you are working for the wrong team, because you have the capability to write code for good, and there are so many ways to do that today. It is no longer difficult. You can write code in an open and collaborative fashion with thousands of other people around the world.

I am terrified of some of the “laws” that are being set in code by some social media services. I won’t mention any, I am not a member. What they do is beginning to shape social interaction in a way that is completely out of control.

Code has an ethical responsibility because in the end, code is speech, and it is one of the most political forms of speech because it is hugely inspiring and empowering. Choose what you say in code carefully, because one day your code may be running on millions of systems, used by billions of people.

If you give them power, then you could empower billions. If you took away privacy, then you’ve enslaved billions.

There are very few domains in our world where an individual can have that kind of power. So yes, I believe the ethical responsibilities you have as a coder are very high.


About the author

Satoshi Nakamoto

We developed bitcoin. This post is derivated from aantoop yt video with same headline under cc by license.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Learn Cryptocurrency!

Crypto secrets revealed about which no one is talking about.