The phrase ‘cryptocurrency’ refers to all-digital, encrypted, and decentralized currencies. Its fairly effortless journey began in 2009 when an unidentified man going by the name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ birthed the first-ever cryptocurrency, ‘Bitcoin’. Although the number of cryptocurrencies has rocketed up to 6000, there are a few notable names: ETH, XRP, and USDT. Even though crypto is defined with a complex array of words, it is now a household term and interferes with our everyday life (whether we like it or not) with Bitcoin alone occupying over 80 million active wallets. To many, crypto is somewhat of a revelation; it aids the working class to climb up the wealth ladder in an instant. Yet, how ethical is this so-called ‘rags-to-riches scheme’?
Unethical work practices have become all too common among multinational tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. This being said, it seems crypto is following in the footsteps of these substandard immoral regimes. The first major issue concerning ethics in crypto is the ‘pump and dump’ scheme, a deceptive strategy in which false recommendations are used to artificially inflate the price of crypto. These suggestions are based on statements that are untrue, misleading, or substantially overstated and leave countless families and individuals distraught as all their life savings are dispersed into digital oblivion. The perpetrators of pump-and-dump schemes already have positions in cryptocurrencies which they will sell once the hype has caused the crypto price to rise. This nefarious practice is fuelled by another crisis, FOMO (fear of missing out), a common trend in the modern era. Nevertheless, an encouraging point to this ethical dilemma is that this issue does not originate from the hierarchal structure and is solely a consumer/investor-based issue. However, this does not negate the fact that more action should be taken against the antagonists.
As for crypto’s environmental impact, Bitcoin is the main concern. In recent years, BTC has faced a lot of judgment due to the hefty carbon footprint with which it burdens mother nature. The root cause of this issue is ‘Bitcoin Mining’. Mining, in crypto terms, is the method of obtaining cryptocurrency through the use of high-powered and energy-guzzling computers to solve cryptographic equations. Even though its complexity and state-of-the-art nature should be admired, it has detrimental implications on our already failing planet. Nonetheless, this problem is not being ignored and action is being taken as various cryptos claim to be eco-friendly including Algorand, Bitgreen, and Cardano. These cryptos supposedly leave an as little carbon footprint as possible and some go above and beyond to completely eradicate their entire carbon footprint. These are the measures that must be taken to allow our children and our future generations to live in a safe environment.
Although crypto has the potential to grow into a global phenomenon, it must be kept within safe quarters; a limit on crypto mining must be established to prevent ethical boundaries from being crossed. We must all do our part to ensure that cryptocurrency does not ravage our bank accounts, our lives, and our planet.