Governance in the Blockchain Economy: A Framework and Research Agenda

Roman Beck, Christoph Müller-Bloch, John Leslie King

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Blockchain technology is often referred to as a groundbreaking innovation and the harbinger of a new economic era. Blockchains may be capable of engendering a new type of economic system: the blockchain economy. In the blockchain economy, agreed-upon transactions would be enforced autonomously, following rules defined by smart contracts. The blockchain economy would manifest itself in a new form of organizational design—decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO)—which are organizations with governance rules specified in the blockchain. We discuss the blockchain economy along dimensions defined in the IT governance literature: decision rights, accountability, and incentives. Our case study of a DAO illustrates that governance in the blockchain economy may depart radically from established notions of governance. Using the three governance dimensions, we propose a novel IT governance framework and a research agenda for governance in the blockchain economy. We challenge common assumptions in the blockchain discourse, and propose promising information systems research related to these assumptions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Association of Information Systems (JAIS)
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • blockchain
  • governance
  • agency theory
  • incentives
  • distributed ledger technology
  • accountability


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