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  • A panel discussion participated by stakeholders debate on how to fix the emerging meme coins with racist themes. 
  • According to the head of strategy at Solana Foundation Austin Federa, Solana wallets filter out offensive content to sanitize the space. 

More than 1900 meme coins have emerged in the crypto ecosystem with CoinMarketCap displaying their total market capitalization to be $66.9 billion. Interestingly, many appear to have unique and funny names and descriptions but some have been pointed out for taking it too far with their N-word and other racist themes.

To address this issue, a panel discussion was organized at the just-ended BUIDL Asia summit to debate this motion. One of the primary questions on the floor was whether wallet apps and decentralized exchanges should subject meme coins to critical scrutiny to filter out those with banned words or whether the nodes should have the exclusive duty to block such projects. 

Solana’s Austin Federa Spoke on Offensive Meme Coins

Speaking on this, Austin Federa, the Solana Foundation’s head of strategy explained that the wallet developers usually have the choice to incorporate a block list. According to him, almost every wallet within the ecosystem is designed to filter out spam Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and normal spam tokens.

With users given the ability and the choice to reveal something, the core network is designed to remain permissionless. Backing his point with an analogy, the Solana Foundation’s head of strategy explained how unreasonable it is to expect an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to block content that may be deemed offensive by some users.

The reason is that the internet operates on a permissionless basis just like crypto. According to him, Solana wallets make decisions on the content they want to show. 

No one expects Verizon to have a legal obligation to prevent a phishing email from landing in your inbox or to prevent you from accessing something that is potentially racist material. Solana is all on the application level. It’s wallets making decisions about the kind of content they want to show and display.

Marc Zeller Counter the Point of Solana Foundation’s Austin Federa

Interestingly, Federa’s argument was countered by Marc Zeller, founder of the Aave Chan Initiative, an Aave DAO delegate and service provider. According to him, there is an obligation to filter content under the European Union law. Using Holocaust denialism as an example, Zeller disclosed that there are legal obligations for ISPs to block certain contents in France. As stated by Zeller, censorship resistance should be prioritized ahead of eliminating displeasing content. 

I’m not saying it’s a good thing, nor am I trying to be political. It’s interesting to point out that different cultures have different approaches to the same issue. Focusing on the blockchain ethos, we tend to support free speech and believe that censorship resistance is more important than eliminating displeasing content.

Federa later clarified that some nodes and validators believe that they are obligated by law to censor some content. To buttress his point, Federa made reference to the sanctions imposed on Ethereum Tornado Cash transactions by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Federa also stated that the popularity attained by these racist meme coins is extremely small compared to the bigger benefits offered by the broad crypto market. He cited an example of how a hate group consisting of 20 members protesting in front of a church ends up in the headlines of national newspapers when it is obvious that all they want is attention. 

It is important to note that Solana’s meme coin hype is currently at its peak as it drives its network activities to a record high as formerly disclosed by Crypto News Flash. 

Solana is already gearing up for a bullish cycle as reported by Crypto News Flash, however, the filtering solution proposed by the head of strategy would have just a minor impact on the overall surge. At press time, SOL was trading at $194 after staging a 24-hour surge of 4%. Currently, its market dominance has increased marginally to reach 3.27%. 

 


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