One of the rallying cries of the blockchain community is that of immutability: the irreversibility of the past, the absolute truth which, once stored, remains there forever. The technology was designed with this foundational pillar in mind to ensure that changes to history are inordinately expensive and practically impossible to execute – and increasingly so, the further in the past the event which one intends to manipulate lies. This platonic view of absolute truth is in stark contrast with a world of manipulated truth, and it is not surprising that it is being revisited as a means of combating fake news. We argue that claims to the absolute nature of the blockchain are at best exaggerated, at worst misrepresented or even ‘fake news’. We discuss implicit centralised points of trust in blockchains, whether at a technological, social or governance level, and identify how these can be a threat to the ‘immutable truth’ stored within the blockchain itself. A global pandemic has unleashed an unprecedented wave of contradictory positions on anything from vaccines and face masks to ‘the new normal’. It is only natural that the pursuit of blockchain as a placebo for society's ‘truth’ problems continues.
Ellul, J., Grech, A. and Pace, G.J. (2021), "Two Sides to Every Story. The Truth, Post-truth, and the Blockchain Truth", Grech, A. (Ed.) Media, Technology and Education in a Post-Truth Society (Digital Activism and Society: Politics, Economy And Culture In Network Communication), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 243-253. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80043-906-120211017
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