Catherine Flick: Publications, Media, and Thoughts


This article in New Scientist was written by Chris Stokel-Walker ( and featured me talking about the likelihood that Web3 would be at all great. (Of course, in my opinion it is Going Just Great.) My key quote is that people don't like to “faff about” when they want to get their work done, so it's unlikely that Web3 will be too likely to catch on in the workplace at least. Apparently you can also pick this article up in the physical edition, which I really should do before it disappears from shelves.

Stokel-Walker, C. (2023) Web3 promises to reclaim the internet from tech giants – will it work? New Scientist, 17 Jan 2023.

#media #newspaper #crypto

Follow this blog on the Fediverse: Want to comment? Copy me in:

I was interviewed at my university for this episode of a new crypto documentary back in March this year while 5 months pregnant, it was a lot of fun as I've never been filmed for a documentary before! I decided to splash out on a fancy Seraphine maternity dress and spent about an hour ironing all the damned pleats on the dress, and I actually put on lipstick and had a proper pamper session beforehand, so it was nice just for that! (I never wear makeup!)

Anyway they asked a lot of questions, at the time the Ethereum merge was highly unlikely, but they seem to have not put in most of the questions that I was asked about that/the environmental cost, so that's good. I think it's actually a reasonably measured tone they take. I'm not the only “voice of reason”, fellow crypto sceptic David Gerard says some very sensible things in there too, and given what's happened to the market since I sort of end up feeling a bit bad for the more purist artists, but I note that Stoner Cats are still selling for a minimum of about $65 worth of ETH so I suppose that isn't too bad, though it is an order of magnitude less than what they started at.

Another behind the scenes thing from my perspective – they wanted me to give a lecture to a group of students and film that. But my computer science/computing/business computing students are all shy and so didn't want to show up (I literally invited over a thousand students, 2 showed up). Instead the press officer and I managed to wrangle in a few students who were hanging around the building – most of the students in the film are either fashion or pharmacy students who had NO idea what I was talking about. They also did a great job of not looking too bored when the camera was on them. Thanks students!

To watch, you can sign up for an Insight TV subscription here: or you can watch for free without signing up on a “web3” platform “MyCo” which has some silly “get paid to watch stuff” type thing going on which I'm pretty sceptical of, but you can ignore all of that and just watch it on their streaming site at

#media #documentary #NFTs #crypto #TV

Follow this blog on the Fediverse: Want to comment? Copy me in:

I was interviewed for the BBC World Service's Business Daily podcast by Leanna Byrne about cryptocurrencies where I talk about how different coins came to be and also about the environmental impact of Bitcoin. Somehow I was missed off the list of interviewees, oh well :)

You can listen here or search for it where you find podcasts.

#radio #crypto #podcast

Follow this blog on the Fediverse: Want to comment? Copy me in:

This paper is a comprehensive analysis of NFTs according to the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Code of Ethics and Professional Practice. I have been wanting to write a paper like this for quite a while and then it took quite a while – in the wild world of crypto everything moves very quickly. I even had to rewrite the paper drastically after reviews came in because Ethereum went proof-of-stake, completing “the Merge” that had been vapourware for so long. Anyway, I finished it after months of research, hundred of references, and thousands of words of writing, just before going on maternity leave – and here we are.

The key messages are that NFTs are currently unethical to implement.

The ethical issues that arise [...] include issues of harm, well-being, discrimination, fairness, intellectual property rights, privacy, quality of work, competence of those involved, legal issues, the ability to give and receive critical review, lack of education for users, personal gain over public good, security, maintenance and end-of-life for NFT ecosystems, and ensuring the public good is the key concern when developing, deploying, and maintaining NFTs.

In the Recommendations section of the paper I suggest some mitigations for those who want to persist in implementing NFTs, though they are not for the faint of heart – they initially require a test of whether the same experience can be delivered with already-existing technology due to the underlying problematic aspect of speculative cryptocurrencies that drive the NFT ecosystem.

There also needs to be a reasonable path to not implementing NFTs:

Developing a responsible, ethical approach to the project requires the flexibility to not engage in development of an NFT-based project should it become impossible to find a way to solve or mitigate the ethical responsibility. Reflection at too late a stage will likely lead to financial or momentum pressure on continuing with the project. Therefore, this should be an initial step and engage with a wide variety of stakeholders in order to ensure that pre-existing biases can be exposed and mitigated along the way.

I hope that you enjoy this paper, I really enjoyed writing it, and appreciate the reviews I received and the thoughtful discussion I had with colleagues along the way.

You can access the paper for free here:

Citation: Flick, C. (2022) A critical professional ethical analysis of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), Journal of Responsible Technology, Volume 12, December 2022. doi:

#NFTs #crypto #ethics #blockchain #cryptocurrency #publication

Follow this blog on the Fediverse: Want to comment? Copy me in: