Skip to main content

Are Virtual Currencies Virtuous? Ethical and Environmental Issues

Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)

Abstract

Cryptocurrencies have gained in popularity and generated a great deal of enthusiasm in recent years with regard to the sustained increase in the number of transactions achieved by miners. On what scale can we consider the process and uses of virtual money to be ethical? What are the misuses related to their use? In this chapter, we study the ethical and environmental issues of cryptocurrencies. First, regarding the environmental issue, the major cryptocurrencies use a large amount of electricity for mining, which has a significant impact on the energy production system and global warming. Second, we discuss the new type of Dark economy that has emerged with these currencies, thanks to the anonymity of transactions. We particularly emphasize the unethical use of cryptocurrencies, namely the virtual money laundering and tax evasion, the financing of illegal activities (i.e. illicit products, terrorist financing) and cyber-attacks. Third, we develop the ethical use of virtual money and show that this kind of currency, which guarantees the protection of privacy and anonymity of transactions, can be a good solution to mitigate transaction costs and reduce poverty. They can also be beneficial in the context of debt crises and hyperinflation. Thus, cryptocurrencies per se are not evil; it is their uses that can be.

Keywords

  • Virtual currencies
  • Energy consumption
  • Environmental impact
  • Illegal activities

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-30738-7_2
  • Chapter length: 22 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-30738-7
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1

References

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sondes Mbarek .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Mbarek, S., Trabelsi, D., Berne, M. (2019). Are Virtual Currencies Virtuous? Ethical and Environmental Issues. In: Goutte, S., Guesmi, K., Saadi, S. (eds) Cryptofinance and Mechanisms of Exchange. Contributions to Management Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30738-7_2

Download citation