Achieving Trust In The Digital Age





Daniel Bennett

Ducketts Mead

Reading, RG2 9GY

The Trust Protocol

Achieving Trust In The Digital Age

Trust in business is the expectation that the other party will behave according to the four principles of integrity: honesty, consideration, accountability and transparency.

Honesty is not just an ethical issue; it has become an economic one. Establish trusting relationships with employees, partners, customers, shareholders, and the public, organisations must be truthful, accurate, and complete in communications. No lying through omission, no obfuscation, through complexity.

Consideration  in business often means a fair exchange of benefits or detriments that parties will operate in good faith. But trust requires a genuine respect for the interests, desires, or feelings of others, and that parties will operate with goodwill toward one another.

Accountability means making clear commitments to stakeholders and abiding by them. Individuals and institutions alike must demonstrate that they have honoured their commitments and owned their broken promise, preferably with the verification of the stakeholders themselves or independent outside experts. No passing the buck, no playing the blame game.


Transparency means operating out in the open, in the light of day. “What are they hiding?” is a sign of poor transparency that leads to disastrous distrust. Of companies, legitimate rights to trade secrets and other types of proprietary information. But when it comes to pertinent information for shareholders, customers, employees and other stakeholders active openness is central to earning trust.

Rather than dressing for success, corporations can undress for success.

Trust in business and other institutions is mostly at an all-time low. In 2016, the public relations company Endelmans  completed a “Trust Barometer” indicating that trust in institutions, especially corporations, has fallen back to levels from the dismally low period of 2008 great recession. Endelman noted that even the great impregnable technology industry, still the most trusted business sector, saw declines in the majority of countries for the first time. Globally CEO’s and government officials continue to be the least credible information sources lagging far behind academic or industry experts.

Similarly,  Gallup reported in its 2015 survey of American confidence in institutions that “business” ranked second lowest among the fifteen institutions measured; fewer than 20 percent of respondents indicated they had considerable or high levels of trust. Only the U.S. Congress had a lower score.

In the preblockchain world, trust in transactions derived from individuals, intermediaries, or other organisations acting with integrity. Because we often can’t know our counterparties, let alone  

whether they have integrity, we've come to rely on third parties to vouch for for strangers, but also to complete transactions for us, maintain them and perform business logic, transaction logic that powers online commerce online.


These powerful intermediaries – banks, governments, PayPal, Visa, Uber, Apple, Google, and other digital conglomerates – harvests much of the value.

In the emerging blockchain world, trust derives from the network and even from objects on the network.

Carlos Moreira of the cryptographic security company WISeKey (WIHN.SW) SIX

Said that the new technologies effectively  delegate trust – even to physical things, “If an object, whether it be a sensor on a communications, a light bulb, or heart monitor, is not trusted to perform well or pay for services it will be rejected by the other objects automatically.” The ledger itself is the foundation of trust.

To be clear, “trust” refers to buying and selling goods and services to the integrity and protection of information, not trust in all business affairs. However, you will read throughout this blog and throughout this site, during lessons I relay from my Blockchain Council Education team at Blockgeeks, how a global ledger of truthful information can help build integrity into all our institutions and create a more secure and trustworthy world.

In our view at Blockgeeks, companies that conduct all or some of their transactions on the blockchain will enjoy a trust bump in share price. Shareholders and citizens will come to expect all publicly traded firms and taxpayer funded organisations to run their treasuries, at minimum, on the blockchain. Because of increased transparency, investors will be able to see whether a CEO really deserved that fat bonus.

Smart contracts enabled by blockchains will require counterparties to abide by their commitments and voters will be able to see whether their representatives are being honest or acting with fiscal integrity.


 I will write about pegging smart social contracts to political reputations.

The second era of democracy.

Technology and Democracy: So far, not a happy story.

Putting Democracy on the Blockchain


End-To-End E-Voting Systems

Neutral Voting Blocs

Protecting the voters



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