Ethical issues of community-driven blockchain systems

Signe Agerskov, Migle Laukyte, Roman Beck

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalConference articleResearchpeer-review


This paper discusses the innovation and development of public-permissionless blockchain systems in the context of the triple helix model and its subsequent versions. We argue that the triple helix model fails to explain the bottom-up and community-driven innovation of this technology, which does not rely on any of the primary institutions presented in the helix models. The absence of these institutions affects the ethics of the innovation as it is left to the developers to make ethics-related design choices, which might clash with general ethical norms and values established and protected by the primary institutions. Ethical issues of public-permissionless systems are often characterized by being unaccountable and immutable, as there is no single data controller. Such design decisions can therefore have a long-term negative effect on society.


Conference2023 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Engineering, Science, and Technology (Ethics)
LocationPurdue University
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWest Lafayette
Internet address


  • blockchain systems
  • blockchain ethical issues
  • ethical guidelines
  • bottom-up innovation communities


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