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Journal of the Association for Information Systems

Abstract

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.

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