cryptocurrency ethics
Isn’t it Time to Talk About Cryptocurrency Ethics?

Admit it. If you’ve been in this industry for a year or more, you have brushed across, at some point you simply must have encountered, some shady dealings. Either directly or indirectly, whether you knew it before you got into it or not, you’ve thought to yourself – hm, is that ethical? I know I have. And each time it brings me back to my initial gut reaction when I first learned about cryptocurrencies and decentralization. I was all starry-eyed thinking this was going to change the world. It is and it will continue to do so, but not in the straight and narrow way that I’d vaguely envisioned. Cryptocurrency ethics will evolve with the industry and now is our time to help shape this trend.

A 2018 Guide to the State of Cryptocurrency Ethics

I’m kind of an end point person; I like to see the desired result and  then I can work out in my brain how to get there. But where are we going? The future of this industry is not yet defined. So it’s up to us as to how we want to mold it. The bear market has been a great time, I think, for those of us who are serious about being involved in an upward movement for humankind using blockchain technology and all this creativity we have swirling about us.

self regulation in cryptocurrency

For those of you that are out there, working hard to keep above water in a dangerous sea so we can get to the good part, these ethics guidelines were written for you. When there is a good intention behind something you do, I’ve learned over and over that this is the way to success. A true intention of solving a problem and helping others in some way works, even if it benefits you immensely.

Let’s Set this Industry on Higher Ground

The reason I wrote this is because I can’t work for money. As stupid as that sounds, I need to work to a higher end. Otherwise, what’s the point? Yet a large percentage of cryptocurrency projects in my experience were created with only money in mind. I’m a firm believer that if you are doing something you love to do, and it helps others, there will be no end to the gratification you get from doing that work. Cryptocurrency regulation created by the industry itself, will help ensure that the best parts about decentralization stay true as we move ahead.

Borrowing from the AI Industry’s Ethics Movement

I’ve been tossing around ideas for crypto ethics ever since I did some content work for an AI company out of Australia, Verge Labs. For research, I was asked to read and summarize an article about AI ethics. This is a growing thing – the ethics of AI you can google and get some great information. Not so when looking for crypto ethics, as I discovered in my research for this article. Come to find out, AI ethics have been around for a little bit with the UK recently taking a noted interest in leading the movement. The AI Ethics developing as we speak look something like this:

  • AI is used for the common good.
  • Fairness and intelligibility – people must be able to understand how AI affects them.
  • AI should not be used to diminish the rights of people.
  • Citizens have the right to be educated about AI and to flourish alongside AI.
  • The power to hurt, deceive or destroy should have no part of AI.

cryptocurrency ethics

I think these are great, and applicable to decentralization as well. But the cryptocurrency industry, most notably the ICO revolution, is in dire need of direction. To the moon is just not working out anymore, and when it did it was really only due to lack of education on the part of new investors and hype and FOMO.

Cryptocurrency Ethics Guidelines

After learning about the AI movement, I did some research and using that and my 12 months of immersion into ICO projects through my work, I’ve come up with some suggestions for ethics as a way of creating self regulation in the Cryptocurrency Industry. Please join the discussion by commenting below or contact me at The more people involved, the more viewpoints and bases of knowledge we can tap as we shape this movement. These are merely a first stab at formulating cryptocurrency ethics.

ICO and Project Specific Ethical Guidelines:

  • Advisor and Influencer Disclosure – ICO advisors and Influencers that stand to gain from the promotion of a particular ICO, disclose this clearly to the public.
  • Transparency of projects – How is the money raised during the ICO spent? How is this tracked? What are some ways that ICO investors can be involved and informed?
  • Listing Site Promotions – Rating sites that promote ICOs disclose this, making it clear that the promoted project is a paid advertisement. Are objective ratings possible by listing sites? (This is what we try to do at TruDex.)
  • Teams –  Transparent teams have public professional profiles.

General Ethical Guidelines:

  • Socially Responsible – Find ways to promote/encourage projects that solve world problems:
    • World hunger
    • Lack of infrastructure (communications, power, education)
    • Inequality (gender, race, economic)
    • Basic human needs
  • Foster Personal Responsibility – People can control and choose which investments that make up their portfolio, while having investment options involving sustainability projects.
  • The right to education about cryptocurrency – There is a steep learning curve for newcomers. They have the right to be informed of the risks of ICO investments, as well as the ins and outs of creating a wallet, buying and selling crypto, etc.
  • Promote collaboration/healthy competition – Develop and promote ideas for beneficial collaboration.
  • Expand (not diminish) rights and privileges – Decentralization enables massive change in the way our world works economically. The focus now is on expanding rights (for instance, the right to banking or the right to invest, even if you only have a small amount of money).

Areas of Dex Ethics

Cryptocurrency ethics are not relegated to ICOs or exchanges, they are important to every aspect of the industry, including the following area. Perhaps you’ve come across an ethical gray (or pitch black) area within one of this industry niches – I can think of a few!






Social Responsibility








Ending Note

Cryptocurrency Ethics and self regulation are just beginning to pick up some steam. Let’s work on it now together and be a part of its future implementation. Again, this is only the beginning of the discussion. We hope that you leave your comments below to join our conversation.



Sources: “thoughtful capitalism” accounting, disclosure, incentives, regulation, and responsibility.

United Nations:

Socially responsible and sustainable investments yield higher returns and decreases liabilities, according to a paper by Oppenheimer Funds released in 2016. [2] Meltem Demirors