Ben van Lier: Blockchain technology and ethics

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology recently published a report entitled Blockchain Technology Overview [1]. The report starts with background on blockchain technology, saying that “the core ideas behind blockchain technology emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In 1989, Leslie Lamport developed the Paxos protocol, and in 1990 submitted the paper The Part-Time Parliament to ACM Transactions on Computer Systems; the paper was finally published in a 1998 issue” (2018:2). According to the authors of the NIST report, the model that Lamport developed was focused specifically on how networked computers reach consensus.
According to the authors, each instance where computers reach consensus through the use of algorithms and software that leads to the performance of a joint information transaction constitutes interaction between various parties. They write: “In practice, software handles everything and the user does not need to be aware of these details” (2018:18).

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