Giving everyone in the world access to Ethereum as a way to issue new tokens is a decision that may backfire at times. More specifically, this technology has been getting a lot of attention from Neo-Nazis. White supremacists have created their own Ethereum-based digital tokens over the past few months. The Daily Stormer, one of the online bastions of Neo-Nazism, didn’t take too kindly to some recent comments of Ethereum pioneer Vinay Gupta.
Neo-Nazis and Ethereum Don’t Mix Well
Making innovative technology accessible to the whole world is a dangerous venture, as there will always be people who make use of this technology for the wrong reasons. In the case of white supremacists, they have created tokens on top of the Ethereum blockchain as a way to fund their operations. While the majority of activity still takes place with Bitcoin, the rise in the popularity of ERC20 tokens should not be underestimated whatsoever. Not everyone thinks these individuals should be able to access this technology, though.
More specifically, recent comments made by Ethereum pioneer Vinay Gupta received criticism from The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist news website. Gupta has made some interesting comments on Twitter related to race including his opposition to ideas such as white pride. One would expect the Ethereum technology to be censorship resistant, but we also know touchy subjects such as this one are often the cause of contentious debate. It is highly unlikely the Ethereum developers will cut off white supremacists from the network, though.
Unfortunately, the Internet and cryptocurrency have a well-documented history of racist viewpoints. For instance, The Daily Stormer CTO Andrew Auernheimer has claimed that Jews have “too much influence over the blockchain industry.” Additionally, every Bitcoin-related forum has some sort of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory to read up on. It is evident that prejudice will always remain a problem in our society, and with platforms to create dedicated digital currencies and tokens, that divide will only become more apparent.
Social justice issues have become so talked about, they are now affecting the cryptocurrency industry as well. MyEtherWallet recently tweeted a statistic indicating that 18% of its users are female, which generated concern from social justice-related groups. At the same time, a portion of the male population was eager to point out that this tweet was too feminist. We would all do well to keep track of the real issues affecting cryptocurrency, rather than go off on social justice crusades for no good reason.
How all of this will play out remains to be seen. There is a general feeling that supremacists deserve to exist on the Ethereum platform, even if one disagrees with their opinions. None of the projects in question have attracted sufficient attention to make them worth paying attention to, but a dangerous precedent has been set regardless. Neo-Nazis are eager to point out flaws in cryptocurrency, but that is partially the reason why so many people appreciate this new form of money.
It is doubtful that the involvement of Neo-Nazis and other supremacist groups will have a negative impact on Ethereum technology in general. Everyone is free to use this code to suit their needs, legitimate or otherwise. The technology isn’t politically-oriented whatsoever, nor does it judge people for their behavior. It is evident that ERC20 tokens of all kinds will be created in the future, although some will be far more controversial than others.