Blockchain Ethics Research: A Conceptual Model

Published on Jun 12, 2019
· DOI :10.1145/3322385.3322397
Yong Tang6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Electronic Science and Technology of China),
Jason Jie Xiong4
Estimated H-index: 4
(ASU: Appalachian State University)
+ 1 AuthorsLakshmi S. Iyer15
Estimated H-index: 15
(ASU: Appalachian State University)
Sources
Abstract
Blockchain is being widely adopted far beyond finance into numerous domains of society and promises unprecedented potential to disrupt organizations, businesses, industries, and economies. However, blockchain is still in its infancy and its future is highly controversial, arousing phenomenal enthusiasm, high expectations, and even intense criticism. The possible impacts of blockchain and its applications on the society could be fundamental and revolutionary, inevitably bringing unpredicted ethical challenges in the foreseeable future. Identifying the ethical challenges of blockchain is urgent and critically needed to ensure that blockchain is adopted ethically. However, discussions on the ethics of blockchain are largely insufficient, which leaves a void of theoretical understanding so far. In this paper, we provide a systematic discussion on the ethics of blockchain applications and map the main social challenges raised by its technology and applications. The paper starts with a review of the technological concepts and applications of blockchain. Then, it overviews the current research on the ethics of technologies and general research on blockchain to briefly introduce the authors' approach. Afterwards, a conceptual model of blockchain ethics research is developed. This research hopes to serve as an initial roadmap for the study of blockchain ethics, and to raise timely awareness and stimulate further debate on the ethics of blockchain in the IS community.
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