Blockchain Technologies (Track Co-Chair: Roger Bons, FOM Hochschule, Germany and Johan Versendaal, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and Open University of the Netherlands, Netherlands):
New ways to organize economic activities are emerging, facilitated by Blockchain as an enabling technology. The attention for the Blockchain (or sometimes “distributed ledger”) technology has been rising steadily. Emerging from the Cypherpunk movement and the Bitcoin technology, it is taking businesses and industries time to recognize that the underlying technology might be the next big thing to disrupt their current business model. The disruptive potential is created by the positioning of the technology as something that lives between organisations and not within them, promising a boost in efficiency and effectiveness in inter-organizational coordination and rising questions about who is in control, if anyone, for networked businesses coordinated through a Blockchain.
In this Call for Papers, we are looking to further qualify this potential and to move beyond the current claims that the Blockchain should eliminate traditional intermediaries, such as (electronic) markets, banks or even governments, and that disruption is its primary purpose. However, the technology can also play a more evolutionary role in the development of new coordination mechanisms. For instance, the distributed and autonomous execution model enables the emergence of “Distributed Autonomous Organisations or DAOs” (Diedrich, 2016), which is “more than using the Blockchain to manage a company: the code is the entire company”. The transparency of the system and the assurance that all participants will play by the rules since that is the only way the DAO operates makes this an interesting candidate for a new generation of electronic markets. Under what conditions such a DAO will be initiated by a completely new disruptive entity, or whether it is a new role for an existing player, is one of the topics for this Call for Papers.
Blockchain might also facilitate and contribute to other new coordination mechanisms, such as the sharing economy, the circular economy as well as smart grids that help businesses and private households to become independent in their energy provisioning. Several Blockchain initiatives are indeed on their way, most notably Ethereum, Hyperledger, the R3 Project, Aeternity to name just a few, in various stages of maturity.
The challenge for scientists now is to distinguish between the hype and the core value of this phenomenon, to reason about the business potential including the potential to disrupt trusted business models, but also to address some of the deeper technical foundations such as scalability, accountability and security. We are looking to broaden the understanding in order to help organisations and societies in reaping the benefits.
Possible topics of submissions include, but are not limited to:
- The effect of Blockchain on networked business models
- Characteristics of business models that will be most disrupted by Blockchain
- The evolution of “trust” and “trusted third parties” in a Blockchain enabled world
- Assets and capabilities Blockchain enabled organizations should have
- The integration of Blockchain technology in existing inter- and intra-organizational IT architectures
- The resolution of governance conflicts that arise when the technology is utilized in highly regulated environments such as banking or healthcare, especially in case of DAOs
- Solutions for technical issues, such as scalability and security
- The ramifications of having anonymous or pseudonymous actors in transactions, especially in a cross-jurisdiction setting
- The design of trustworthy smart contracts
We encourage contributions with a broad range of methodological approaches, including conceptual, qualitative and quantitative research.