As the current global health pandemic exasperates the development and use of emerging technology across industries, global alignment between the public and private sectors for blockchain has never been more pivotal.
Seeking to support individuals and companies build trust and preserve the fundamental values of blockchain technology, the World Economic Forum’s Global Blockchain Council developed the “Presidio Principles: Foundational Values for a Decentralized Future.”
Co-designed at the World Economic Forum’s offices in the Presidio of San Francisco, sixteen principles aim to protect users and preserve the values of the technology so that all can benefit.
Sheila Warren, Head of Blockchain and Data Policy, World Economic Forum stated: “The blockchain ecosystem needed a baseline for designing applications that preserve the rights of users. During our council meeting, we realized we could help curb many of the mistakes and missteps seen so far if we were able to provide developers, governments and executives with a ‘Bill of Rights’ style document.
“Our Global Blockchain Council membership reflects varying ideological perspectives on what blockchain technology is appropriate for and where it is going, ranging from bitcoin maximalists to enterprise service providers.
She added: “This highly opinionated group came together and agreed that the blockchain community needed the foundational principles we are presenting today. Agreement from across Council members, despite their divergent perspectives, indicates the critical need for a values-based document like this in order to ensure that the technology remains true to its roots as the application layer starts to scale.”
Rights are grouped into four broad pillars:
Transparency & Accessibility – the right to information about the system; Privacy & Security – the right to data protection; Agency & Interoperability – the right for individuals to own and manage their data; and Accountability & Governance – the right for system users to understand available recourse.
The Presidio Principles
Applications built on top of blockchain-based systems should preserve the following participant rights.
A participant should have access to information that would enable them to:
Understand how a service is operated, including potential risks of the service, availability of source code, and the rules and standards upon which it is based.
Understand the potential risks and benefits of a service’s use of blockchain technology.
Understand system performance expectations and where the responsibility for service delivery lies.
Understand the rights and obligations of different participants in the system.