What are the ethical implications of cryptocurrency?

The pseudonym (that is, users use pseudonyms) required by the transparency of the system has allowed cryptocurrencies to be associated with criminal activities, such as the financing of terrorism, mafias and wars. The lack of regulation also means that cryptocurrency investors have no resources or protection. The ethical argument in favor of cryptocurrencies falls apart. None of the positive statements can be sustained.

It does not promote financial inclusion, but it exposes the most vulnerable groups to greater risks and costs. It does not guarantee privacy or anonymity. And, of course, it's not a plausible solution to improve democracy. At best, cryptocurrencies are ethically questionable.

At its worst, it could be toxic to the environment, be exploitative, encourage criminal activity, and thrive on ignorance and greed. With the rise of cryptocurrencies in recent years, more and more law firms are allowing their clients to pay for their legal services with bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. However, there are a number of ethical issues that companies should consider before entering into fee agreements that allow or require payment in cryptocurrency. In a new article, to be published in Business and Society Review early next year, Scharding analyzes whether bitcoin is an ethical currency.

It's confusing and there are so many doubts about it and so much uncertainty that I felt really uncomfortable applying some of the other ethical theories that I turn to regularly.


ESG rating (a measure of “ethical responsibility” used by investors) is D, with a D— for the environmental component. The main resources available to me are ethical theories: Kantian ethics, utilitarianism and virtue ethics. They are well-developed theories that will make it possible to evaluate what is right.

And if taxes are the price of civil society, anything designed to hide wealth and avoid taxes is, ipso facto, ethically questionable. Cryptocurrencies may not make the world a better place, from an ethical point of view, but they can offer financial savings or operational efficiencies that justify their acceptance and, perhaps, even compensate for some of the negative aspects described here. Therefore, I investigated this problem through an account of ethical currency offered by Johann Gottlieb Fichte at the beginning of the 19th century. The fourth concern is how cryptocurrencies thrive thanks to ignorance and greed.

I started to worry about the ethics of cryptocurrencies when, on the same day, two Uber drivers told me that they were “involved” in cryptocurrencies and asked me which one to buy. However, the valuation was quite negative because bitcoin really had no way of guaranteeing its value and, therefore, could not fulfill the ethical purpose of the currency on behalf of Fichte to stabilize and protect these exchanges over generations. I thought that combining the novelty and uncertainties of cryptocurrencies with this really interesting old story about what makes a coin ethical would be a good way to begin to understand cryptocurrency. It's not necessarily obvious why bitcoin's instability is problematic from an ethical point of view.

Utah has yet to decide on this issue and there are other ethical standards that may be involved depending on the nature of the payment system, such as Communication Rule 1.4 and Property Custody Rule 1.15. If this user community could create stability and security in the value of the currency, there is no doubt that it could meet Fichte's objectives in terms of an ethical currency. Bitcoin's value may remain uncertain, but Professor Tobey Scharding is clearer about whether it's ethical. Tobey Karen Scharding, visiting professor and researcher at the Institute for Ethical Leadership at the Rutgers Business School, has created an area of academic research that raises questions about the ethical nature of new financial instruments.

Gertrude Majera
Gertrude Majera

Freelance web aficionado. Subtly charming zombie junkie. Typical coffee maven. Wannabe travel aficionado. Hardcore music lover. Passionate pop culture aficionado.

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