The potential of blockchain has been extensively discussed in practitioner literature, yet rigorous empirical and theory-driven information systems (IS) research on blockchain remains scarce. This special issue addresses the need for innovative research that offers a fresh look at the opportunities and challenges of blockchain. This editorial integrates and goes beyond the papers included in this special issue by providing a framework for blockchain research in IS that emphasizes two important issues: First, we direct the attention of IS research toward the blockchain protocol level, which is characterized by recursive interactions between human agents and the blockchain protocol. Second, we highlight the need for IS research to consider how the protocol level constrains and affords blockchain applications, and how these constraints and other concerns at the application level lead to changes at the protocol level. Rooted in a socio-material view of IS, we offer a multiparadigmatic IS research agenda that underscores the need for behavioral (individual, group, and organizational), design science, and IS economics research on blockchain. Our research agenda emphasizes issues of blockchain governance, human and material agency, blockchain affordances and constraints, as well as the consequences of its use.
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