Blockchain and Citizenship: Uneasy Bedfellows

Forthcoming in Oreste Pollicino and Giovanni De Gregorio (eds), Blockchain and Public Law, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2021.

20 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2020

See all articles by Oskar Josef Gstrein

Oskar Josef Gstrein

University of Groningen - Campus Fryslân; Europa-Institut, Saarland University

Dimitry Kochenov

CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest; CEU Department of Legal Studies, Vienna

Date Written: October 23, 2020

Abstract

Distributed Ledger Technology can be an effective tool for resource distribution. As individuals and organisations explore innovations which allow to redefine the rules of access, possession and sharing these developments also become important for the future of self-determination. Demonstrated through credit scoring and ‘social credit systems’, the identity of an individual is intertwined with resource access, possession and transferability. A key pre-requisite for participation is formal legal status, which translates to citizenship. However, many proponents of Distributed Ledger Technology focus predominantly on technological features and capabilities, which might enable the implementation of concepts such as decentralised governance, ‘self-sovereign identity’ management, and trust-less transactions based on ‘zero-knowledge proof’. Nevertheless, such narrow consideration overlooks existing legal and political realities. Considering the lessons learned from citizenship, it becomes questionable whether Blockchain as player in the area of identity management will ultimately increase human dignity, or further manifest traditional patterns of discrimination and inequality.

Keywords: Blockchain, Citizenship, Privacy, Discrimination, Digital Identity, Self-Sovereign Identity

Suggested Citation

Gstrein, Oskar Josef and Kochenov, Dimitry and Kochenov, Dimitry, Blockchain and Citizenship: Uneasy Bedfellows (October 23, 2020). Forthcoming in Oreste Pollicino and Giovanni De Gregorio (eds), Blockchain and Public Law, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2021., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3717585

Oskar Josef Gstrein (Contact Author)

University of Groningen - Campus Fryslân ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.rug.nl/staff/o.j.gstrein/

Europa-Institut, Saarland University ( email )

Campus, Gebäude B2.1
Saarbrücken, 66123
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://europainstitut.de

Dimitry Kochenov

CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest ( email )

Nador utca 9
Budapest, H-1051
Hungary

CEU Department of Legal Studies, Vienna ( email )

Quellenstraße 51
Vienna, 1100
Austria

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