What is Ethics? ‘A system of accepted beliefs that control behavior, especially such a system based on morals’ according to the Cambridge Dictionary.
Ethics is a concept that continually evolves according to morals, usages, and regulations. In the absence of state regulation surrounding NFTs, only individual or community choices remain to define our conduct.
The NFT community is fragmented into several small communities and each of them has its own rules of ‘savoir-vivre’. So far, the moral principles that seem to be the consensus within the entire NFT community are openness and inclusiveness. But what if a community doesn’t agree with another community’s rules?
Since mid-2020, the NFT ecosystem has seen the arrival of many new institutional players like Christie’s, brands like Adidas or Nike, and superstars like Snoop Dogg. Soon, attention was focused solely on them, what they bought and in which projects they invested. To the detriment of the players who have built the ecosystem in the middle of the bear market for two years.
Certainly, the exposure to the general public brought by these different actors has allowed unprecedented visibility to such a young ecosystem. But it was fast, too fast perhaps. The education time necessary for this new generation of users has been lacking for OGs to pass on their knowledge.
The blockchain only secures its perimeter: the durability of the data it hosts. All the risks related to the Web2 still exist and new users, who can be poorly informed, have suffered undesirable consequences:
Moreover, in the face of these unethical behaviors, there is no one to ask for reparation for the harm that has been done. Having been abused of their trust, a large part of these new users have accused the ecosystem of being a vast scam and turned away from it. In addition, critics have multiplied against the fundamentals of NFTs and blockchain.
While some of these criticisms are justified, it would seem that NFTs have served as a magnified mirror on a trend that has accelerated sharply since the global lockdowns of 2020: the digitization of our society.
With social networks mainly using the cloud, today many aspects of our society depend on digital. In many countries, it has become normal to keep a copy of identity documents, permits, or property deeds in a centralized database. This notion of ‘digital identity’ is becoming increasingly important and requires sufficiently secure tools to prevent fraud.
At the same time, attention and influence economies have developed on social networks, making it possible to monetize content. To better target the consumer, data on users’ online habits are collected and the algorithms display news feeds according to the user’s preferences.
Two consequences follow from this preferential system:
NFTs address all these issues, but their transparent and censorship-resistant nature forces us to rethink the way we see the internet of tomorrow. But to what extent can we tokenize the internet?