Alongside the hype regarding the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, the underlying blockchain technology is growing in popularity as well. The potential of this technology has been acknowledged by academic researchers and practitioners alike. Although research on blockchain technology has increased tremendously in recent years, scholars paid only a little attention to the crucial topic of trust in blockchain technology. To investigate trust in blockchain technology, previous research has predominantly used qualitative or design-oriented research approaches. Yet, empirical investigations of individual blockchain features have received only minimal attention so far. To fill this research gap, we conducted a scenario-based experimental study with 455 participants. We analyzed the trust-building effect of three technological features (immutability and traceability of information as well as an anonymous use of the technology) which can be found in current blockchain implementations. Our results show that immutability and traceability positively and anonymity negatively influence trust in technology. Moreover, anonymity moderates the effect of immutability, showing that in highly anonymous blockchains, the immutability of information is more relevant. By revealing the interplay between blockchain features and trust in technology, we broaden the discussion concerning the impact of trust in blockchain technology and open various new avenues for future research.
Wallbach, Sören; Lehner, Roland; Roethke, Konstantin; Elbert, Ralf; and Benlian, Alexander, "Trust-Building Effects of Blockchain Features – An Empirical Analysis of Immutability, Traceability and Anonymity" (2020). In Proceedings of the 28th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), An Online AIS Conference, June 15-17, 2020.
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