As I’ve started to evaluate what it means to trust I’ve come across a few different ideas on this subject. From a technical perspective, I first encountered it by trusting police and leaders of our society. Later, I was introduced to the idea of Bitcoin where I really started to question what trust means, and more importantly what “trustless” means. My evaluation of “trust” lead me on a path to evaluate many different aspects of technology, law, philosophy, and ultimately my values.
In this case, I’ve learned over time different perspectives of trust as I’ve been influenced, studied history, and learned more about what it means to be trusted or trustless. Specifically, I started out with the idea that trust is naturally social and it’s given to us by our society. Bitcoin then opened me the view that trust can be coded and therefore “trustless”. There’s also the idea that trust is a human notion that we invented and therefore can’t be codified. Then there’s also the view that trust is just risk in a different form, and should be evaluated and resolved similarly to liability. In total, I’ve probably ran through 10+ different view points of what it means to trust, and I still don’t fully feel like I understand what trust is. It’s such an abstract idea that has lead me to ask some very deep questions.
You could say Bitcoin really opened a can of worms for me by making me eventually evalute what I value. What’s become apparent as I’ve dug deeper, evalutated, and ultimately continue to dig into is that as I become more aware is that my values continuously shift. More importantly, I’ve begun to recognize that as a developer it’s my duty, to not inject my morality onto the users of the software I create. It’s my obligation to accept that people that use my software, may disagree with my values, but I should still create software for them. Hell, I may disagree with my own values in a few years and therefore it’s in both of our interests to allow for growth, healthy debate, and ultimately technologies that adapt to the people rather than users that adapt to the technologies.