A Blockchain Bill of Rights?

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image courtesy of the National Archives

It seems like a long time ago, but just a few years ago, blockchain took the world by storm.  It initially drew interest as the technology underlying cryptocurrencies.  However, more and more functional applications have come to the fore in the intervening years.

A Blockchain Bill of Rights?

Now, the World Economic Forum has entered the picture with its Blockchain Bill of Rights.  The idea is to make sure that the users know how blockchain-based services work and understand the potential risks.

The WEF laid out 16 principles, in four categories. The categories are Accountability & Governance, Transparency & Accessibility, Agency & Interoperability and Privacy & Security.

According to the WEF, the 16 principles aim to preserve and protect users’ rights in a decentralized future. Apps built using blockchain would have a goal of preserving a set of rights for all participants. Some of these rights include protecting data according to internationally recognized technical security standards and ensuring that users know app operations.  Others include limiting data collection to essentials. Another element is giving users freedom to build, manage and store cryptographic keys independently.

Are the principles of the Blockchain Bill of Rights manageable?

While these principles may seem reasonable, some blockchain platforms will find it difficult to incorporate some of them into their business operations. For example, blockchain records data immutably.  It will be difficult for many to meet the WEF’s requirement of being able to alter data. Indeed, it might undermine their raison d’etre son some cases.


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