Blockchain Safety
June 25th, 2022

Blockchain safety, or web3 safety, refers to a group of people researching for negative implications that blockchain and web3 brings. What new negative implications that haven’t yet exist does blockchain brings? I don’t know. What already negative implications does blockchain and web3 enhance, making it even more negative than it currently is? Hah, I know. That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article.

If you haven’t understand what one means by blockchain safety (I’ll use blockchain safety and web3 safety interchangeably; but sometimes web3 refers to just the web, while blockchain refers to a larger, well, blockchain), let’s look to another field for an example: Machine Learning.

AI boom and Bitcoin boom happens around the same time, at around 2010; but AI safety has gone forward far more than blockchain safety. In fact, searching for “blockchain safety”, what one got is how blockchain prevents conglomerate from controlling data, how to make data transparent for its users, how to prevent conglomerate from secretly using users data for whatever usage, how to prevent hackers from hacking the blockchain, etc. There are nothing like AI safety, which talks about how AI brings negative implication to end users life, in blockchain. One didn’t research deeply, but “blockchain safety” certainly either not yet exist, or isn’t something popular: researching onto how blockchain (and/or web3) brings negative implications to end users life. This article plans to look a bit into that.

Let’s just take a look at AI safety in two paragraphs before continue. Feel free to skip to the next section if you feel you already understand what one tries to mean.

Imagine someone building a machine learning model don’t care how that machine learning model is used. The model could be used for the good: to help identify diseases in plants or humans (in hospitals), to help speeding up classification, to help solving problems like finding anti-virus for covid-19. But the same model could be used for the bad: to identify ways to trade drugs across borders, to listen to private conversations (see below), or to create more destructive military weapons (one hit can destroy Earth that kind of weapons). That’s why we have AI safety field.

Your phone, if you set AI auto-wake to commands, are always-on state to listen for the commands. Because phone and TV have really small CPUs, usually, machine learning models are held on a server and phone and TV sends the captured audio back to server and process it. Imagine you have a private conversation with your loved ones. If your phone are near you when having a private conversation, all the conversation details are actually sent back to the central server to process whether you speak any commands to wake it up. Most importantly, it’s a high chance whatever you sent to the server are stored, so they could use it to train a better machine learning model in the future that can understand more commands. So, now your private conversation have a backup copy on their server, and if the phone providers decide to betray your trust, they could eavesdrop on what you had spoken. Similarly, central server are prone to hackers, and hackers could get your information if they hacked the central server.

Of course, this is not the only way to voice start an action. You could locally store a voice command, and constantly listen for that command, comparing to the voice command and see if they kinda match. In the progress, nothing is send back to the server, just locally matching. One just tries to emphasize that, even if they do the scenario above, you might not know if they don’t make it transparent.

Hence, we could start thinking about blockchain safety, and a few fields that we currently have built on top of web3 and their negative implications. We’ll also look for partial solutions that one could think from one’s perspective. For other solutions, it’s up to the reader and other researchers to find out how to solve certain problems, in specific situations or general.


Supernormals are entertainment that exceeds the normals. As of this YouTube Video, supernormals trick our brain thinking we need something for survival. Example, junk food with high energy and high calorie are vital in the past for survival, but not now: hence they’re supernormals. Example, social media might give us social validations, where liking other people’s post and they might like back our posts, making us more popular!

Because the normal are enjoyable, and supernormals are addictive, we prefer the supernormals. Programs like social media encourages users to spend their time independently, prefer for text messages, and aim for popularity; than spending time (face to face) with friends, talk face to face, and be humble. When two people in close proximity have nothing too important to speak about, or nothing more interesting than browsing the social media, they would prefer independence. Two people no longer enjoy each other: social media has sap their attention away.

And What’s to do with Web3?

Of course, social media isn’t a problem of web3. We already have social media on web2. One suggests those whom first invented social media intends it as another way of communicating with each other in far proximity. For example, just like phone calls, text messaging apps allows people to get through each other without requiring both to be “on” at the same time, try to hard to hear the “voice” that may be bad quality or difficult-to-understand accent. And others like short posts (Tweets) and images (Instagram) aims for promoting advertisements, hence selling more products. The starting point is good, but it doesn’t always gives positive implications.

Just look around you and see what problems it caused. And make a comparison to the previous century when the web isn’t yet available. Ask the elderly how they had lived their lives! What had been lost in the process? And think: does it always bring positives to peoples’ lives?

And yet, what had web3 plans for? Transparency: we want to know how the data we uploaded to social media has been used. Payment: we want to be paid for the information we uploaded to these platforms. And maybe some other problems too. Not too bad, eh? Let’s talk about payment.

A payment is a form of reward. Possibly, if you’ve learnt how our brains work: we tend to continue to do things if it continuously provide us with rewards. These rewards could range from various fields, but certainly, money is one form of reward for the poorer whom can’t see money as pure figures. Combined with the already highly addictive nature of social media, we are actually encouraging more people to use social media. Perhaps there are people previously not using social media to not get into the highly addictive state: they may now use if they have money issues. And for those already using, because they now trick their brain that “they aren’t wasting time, they actually earn money by putting data up”, they tend to stay longer with social media.

And if social media does bring health and mental issues to humanity, where do you think our future lies?

We’re not saying blockchain is bad. It had a good starting point, aims for a good causes; but that doesn’t mean we eliminated the bad causes and implications it’ll bring. And as we have mentioned, this includes extended usage of social media till the point it disturbs the normal life of a person, and perhaps causes some health issues and mental issues; but not limited to social media.

Partial Solution

Basically, social media still have its uses; we’re just trying to avoid people from overusing it till it affects other parts of their life. To properly solve it requires one learns to enjoy other aspects of life, not solvable by any technology. Without the user changing himself/herself, even if they don’t use your social media, there’s still lots of social media in the world as a go-to. From the web3 perspective, we can only refrain from making the situation worse.

So refrain from awarding the “readers” of social media. Award only the “writers”.

For readers (or do we call social media scrollers or something?), we may even have negative rewards if they exceed usage time. Of course, in an open world, we couldn’t block them from viewing social media. Even if we block them, we’re only tracking an account, and a user could have multiple account that they may choose not to link together if we reward negatively their multiple linked account total time usage. We just try to reduce people from taking their health at risk, and highly encourage they take their health issues (including socially health, mentally healthy, etc) seriously.

Even so, if “writers” keeps trying out what thing attract readers and spend their whole waking time on social media, it’s kinda health damaging. But one don’t know yet how to solve that problem except the “writer” being responsible for himself/herself.


Life is a game: what actions you take next, what causes your action results, etc. And life is a forward-only game: meaning you can’t restart once you made a decision. It’s no wonder why we love games.

Before blockchain, we already have lots of games; and we loves playing games. Game ranges from lots of genres, and different people with different gender at different age (and other factors) loves different games.

As a proof of concept for NFT, we start making game data NFT (well, SFT really), and players could earn!

It’s still the same problem as social media. We appreciate players’ time and effort on playing games, so we want to reward players. What they bought could be sell to others immediately in-game. What they own has value rather than only for use in games. They could make a (albeit small) fortune playing games. And the problem lies: we are attracting people to stay addicted to games, as they longer they play, the more they earn.

We have seen addicted childrens and teenagers and adults (possibly recent generation adults) being addicted to games. While in the past, people may start losing interest if the games no longer rewards them in terms of addiction, they may continue to play afterwards because we’re now rewarding them with real money. And those that are never gamers starts joining and play games because it could earn. While we have tournaments for popular games like League of Legends that could earn for top players, now everyone gets to earn. Game time might increase (not enough data to make conclusion, DYOR to conclude).

The problem lies with more people playing games, and people play games for longer period of time. Perhaps they may previously use other times for normals, like conversation with friends, or reading a book, participating in a club activity, going to school. Now, since they could earn by playing games, these normal activities are shorten or even stopped. Nobody cares about going to school if they could earn money immediately: after all, school is just a platform towards getting a good-earning (and perhaps dream) job. Well, games are highly addictive, you could say they live in their dream, and it earns money, so it’s a job: it’s a dream job.

If you’re following me, you might have noticed what one tries to mean. Playing games for a short period of time provides advantages, like improves memory, etc. But being addicted to games, because rewards are increased, isn’t beneficial for the public in the long term. When many people are preferring playing games and less prefers job that makes progress (especially scientific researches, space exploration, solving humanity problems like climate change and poverty), progress slows down towards stagnant.

And what about the kids?

Have you heard of stories, where kids steal their parents’ money because they want to buy game objects to further progress their games?

Just like gambling, kids may overplay games that encourage them to perform bad behaviors (stealing) just to play the games that’s becoming more addictive (with rewards). After all, most games requires you first spending lots of money to own a game object that could produce, especially factory objects. These objects produce NFTs that could be sell; and in a few months, you earn back what you pay for.

Though there’s a caveat: players whom’re willing to spend money is less than players whom’re willing to sell items. One really like how Wax (AtomicHub market) did this. They have figures saying how much a template is bought (it’s SFT right, so there are lots of NFT for a single template) per day. Notice that cheap objects are bought in large quantity, more easily sold out; while expensive items are sold only once per long time. The latter aims for competitive players: and it’s a wonder how they’ll sell out and whether they’ll eventually be sold with so little audiences. If the factory object produce that kind of objects, the players might never earn enough to pay back what they had spent.

Furthermore, kids might be tempted to buy more factory objects to increase their output. And if they don’t track properly how much they earn vs how much they spend, they might thought they earn when they in deed, only spend. It might be a large negative they earned, and they didn’t notice it. This leaves negative implications on playing games for the kids.

The solution is simple: restrict how much they can spend a day. We have done this before: some games in web2 restrict how much a person can spend a day. Web3, we could write this into the smart contract and make the restriction too! Except it’s not so easy if you sell your items on an external marketplace, like OpenSea. If they support payment restriction, fine. If they don’t, sorry, anyone could spend whatever amount on game objects every day, till they declared bankruptcy.

And with web3 games, and if you love money, have you felt that you need to play these multiple games, with multiple accounts, just to increase your income? And being blind to income per hour if you’re working vs if you’re spending your time clicking a “mine” button? Ahem, I mean Alien World, but not restricted to only it.

Partial Solutions

Make other jobs more rewarding than playing games! Despite one speaks of being addictive to games, it doesn’t mean other jobs aren’t addictive; otherwise there wouldn’t be workaholics nowadays. Furthermore, people whom experienced the flow state actually likes to stay in them while they’re not feeling fatigue/tiredness. Plus if people earn more per hour through other jobs, and earning in games aren’t enough for them to support themselves (and I mean, taking the whole non-sleeping session maximizing gaming, whether focusing on one games or multiple games, and multitasking between games or attention on a single game, up to the player, is not enough to support their living); then only they’ll understand the importance of contributing to a proper job that contributes to the world.

Of course, there will be deadly gamers whom play to death. You have seen them in news: non-stop playing a game until they died in the cyber cafe or at home. Still, that’s not a problem of web3, and one can’t think of ways to prevent them except having supervision by their relatives or whoever they’re living with.


Streaming per se isn’t a problem. For example, people pay streamers for streaming the video (whatever kind of streamers, whatever kind of video); or perhaps jobs that used to pay per hour can now pay per second (streamed every seconds). Or maybe you park your car and you pay per seconds. These are good use cases. As of social media, what we don’t want is paying people to watch videos!

Well, perhaps for one exception: if the person watching the show/video is to give feedback to the performer/streamer, it kinda makes sense. However, just for an average person watching Netflix or YouTube video, it’s a no no.

We argued with social media that browsing social media is an addiction. Similarly, some people don’t browse that much social media, but they watch lots and lots of videos, on YouTube, Netflix, or other popular platforms one isn’t aware of, for hours and hours everyday. We could equate the same issue of supernormals for streaming video with scrolling social media, and the same partial solutions.

As an extra note, these aren’t absolute. A classroom teacher could choose to pay their students to watch educational show at home instead of rubbish show/series/videos. This educates students to divert their attention towards learning useful contents rather than wasting time on unhealthy contents. It means more time spent learning new stuffs, or at least strengthening what they learnt into real-world use cases, than just spending their time browsing through.

It’s even worse if people reward users for reading/watching unhealthy contents, like real-world fighting that encourages people to fight in their ordinary life, hate speeches that influence people with half-true-half-fake propaganda, pornography, abusive contents, etc that brings negative influence to people. For some people, watching these are already rewarding per se; and if we reward them with even more, it strengthen their will that these contents are the way to go. How dangerous it is!


These are some of the fields that we want to watch out for blockchain safety. Though, it’s not limited to these fields. If you find more fields, welcome to start a thread (short post) on Twitter tagging me, or on with short post tagging @wabinab. I’ll hear you out.

Seriously speaking, we can’t control how people use social media, and etc. Though, it’s encouraged to re-think how can these things like social media reduce their negative implications in our daily lives. Even if we can’t do that, at least don’t make the situation worsen with our inventions/innovations.

Just like machine learning brings us lots of benefits, we need AI safety to care for its drawbacks. Machine learning is already created, and we can’t control people using it; so just because it has drawbacks and we don’t use it is notwithstanding. Similarly, just because blockchain brings us negative implications and not using it for its positive implications is stupid. Any technology brings us negative implications, just like the web (v2) today does, and we’re still using it as its positive is too important. We still works for its benefits, and at the same time, we care about its negative by finding ways to prevent them.

Blockchain brings us lots of benefits, but let’s not ignore its drawbacks.


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