GBA Ethics Office Series – Hot Topics: Blockchain Ethics During Pandemics

The current global pandemic triggered by Covid19 has clearly acted as a catalyst and generated an exponential blockchain adoption in several domains such as: healthcare supply-chain, banking, e-government, e-identity, mandatory versus voluntary population surveillance, mandatory versus voluntary immunizations, precision medicine, research etc.

However, it has also highlighted the urgent need for an ethical implementation of blockchain technology to avoid unintended consequences or expose vulnerability to malicious intents.

The need for digital ethics governance has been raised by numerous global experts even prior to the onset of this pandemic, as we were already in the midst of a digital transformation trend and ethical deployment of AI or IoT was already a hot topic.

With the urgency imposed on us due to the marked global health and economic crisis, we now have to also accelerate the design and development of an governance model that would allow ethical development, deployment and monitoring of blockchain solutions.

The key areas of social impact remain the same during a pandemic, however the magnitude, prioritization and severity are certainly exacerbated. Trying to address the unprecedented problems created by his pandemic with blockchain should certainly remain a priority, however providing organizations the necessary framework and guidelines as soon a possible would be highly beneficial.

To be successful in this complex endeavour, we hope to have a robust and swift collaboration between multiple disciplines such as law, philosophy, ethics and our blockchain community of experts in order to ensure a comprehensive, equitable ethical framework and feasible guidelines for a large scale global blockchain implementation with multiple stakeholders.

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