How an Art Collective Is Using Blockchain to Protest Police Brutality?

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DADA Art Collective is the name of a collaborative and loosely affiliated group of globally renowned visual artists. It teamed up with OpenSea and Mintbase, well-known non-fungible token marketplaces, and a file-storage blockchain named Arweave, to jointly publish the names of the police officers in America who are accused of unethically killing unarmed Black people. The project named No Justice No Peace took off with the help of the founder of DappHero Project, Dennisson Bertram, on June 6. 

Dennis Bertram said that he has always been interested in social justice and communal harmony, and when contacted by DADA Art Collective, he was more than excited to join in. Dennis said that the art collective was already halfway through the process and had already created tokens. Dennis believes that the blockchain technology presents a fascinating platform on how social protests can be done. The representative of the DADA Collective, Judy Mam, said that over ten artists from across the globe contributed to support the Black Lives Matter movement as well as voice much-needed reforms in the law enforcement sector. The contributions included the photos as well as the case statuses of police personnel who are accused of killing black people wrongfully. 

The technology of the Arweave’s blockchain was used in this regard to create a wallet for each victim. The wallet houses tokens that contain a comprehensive set of information about the officers accused in the case. The reflection of the protest can be seen in the fact that the private keys to these wallets holding tokens and records of victims and accused officers have been destroyed. It means that the data cannot be destroyed, modified, repealed, or censored in any form. 

Dennis Bertram says that, in a way, the blockchain technology in itself is a political statement because it is something beyond the control of the government. Many of the protests that happen in the world today are subdued by police brutality and by force. However, blockchain technology is opening a completely new venue for registering peaceful yet innovative and informative protest that not only spreads righteous information but also empowers people and their voices. 

Even though it may seem far-fetched at the moment, it does present the scope of decentralizing human rights or justice as we know it. However, this project does raise a few relevant questions about ethics as it holds immutable digital records for eternity, as it says on the website. In Europe, there is a particular law under the General Data Protection Regulation called ‘right to be forgotten.’ Even in this project, the artists have decided to remain anonymous as there are state laws and jurisdictions that don’t allow them to reveal evidence that can directly or indirectly incriminate law enforcement personnel. 

Judy Mam said that the police officers behind the alleged crimes hadn’t been convicted even after immense community efforts, a claim that is also supported by the research carried out by Bowling Green State University. Judy says that the aim of the project is not only to protest but to present the information and the evidence, immutably, and forever, with the hope that at least some of these police officers would be punished for their brutal crimes. 

One of the crypto enthusiasts from Howard University, Gerald Nash, commented that even though the project seems interesting, it isn’t infallible. There is a possibility that the government may censor information and access to affiliated websites and keyword searches. Also, the dependability of the crypto-structure on participants and incentives makes it vulnerable, especially with Arweave blockchain having only 3,000 members as of now.