Sheila Warren is the Head of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology at the World Economic Forum. Sumedha Deshmukh is a Project Specialist on the Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology team at the World Economic Forum. The opinions expressed here are their own.

If the last few years have taught us one thing, it’s this: users are not magically protected as technology evolves. Rather, user protection is something that occurs as the result of intention, commitment and deliberate design. Without this dedication from the outset, the trajectory of a technology’s development can, and often does, carry significant and far-reaching consequences.

As blockchain pursuits move from buzzword to business case, the technology is fast-approaching an inflection point. With $12.4 billion in projected spending by 2022 and high-profile announcements from actors like Facebook, central banks and global mining and metals companies, the decisions made by builders today will have ripple effects on significant swaths of the population for years to come.