Legitimization and Diffusion of the Blockchain Technology

The Blockchain Technology might be an enabler of new business practices and could supersede the central mediator to create a real decentral Sharing Economy. However, the use of the Blockchain technology in real-life sharing organizations is currently rather scarce. Besides the technical complexity, its origin in a highly controversial domain as a means to organize criminal activities or as speculation objects might be a reason for its slow diffusion.

New technologies play a major role in the rise of new economies. The latest example might be the establishment of internet technologies which in turn gave rise to the platform economy. The platform economy currently follows a central logic which can be summed up as “The winner takes it all” leading to market forces favoring few, huge and central platforms – often at the brink of forming a monopoly. As such the current platform economy has some problematic properties and dynamics for society.

Within the sharing economy – a sub-sector of the platform economy – there are some efforts to overcome the logics of centralization and to create a more decentralized platform economy. One kind of these efforts involves the use of a new technology, which is based around the Blockchain. The Blockchain Technology enables the creation of decentralized services, which might be used as a new backbone of business and sharing opportunities. Such decentralized services might make the role of a central platform organization superfluous.

The following research questions are particularly interesting: 

  • How is the Blockchain Technology embedded in the current knowledge pool of society?
  • Which organizations and actors drive and influence the diffusion of the Blockchain Technology? What role do these actors play in the process of diffusion?
  • Which organizations adopt the Blockchain Technology? What other technologies or concepts do these organizations combine with the Blockchain Technology?


Organizing the Wisdom of Crowds: How Wikipedia Helps to Theorize and Legitimize the Blockchain (31/07/2020)
One approach to attack positions of dominant platform organizations is seen in a new technology: Blockchain – a technology enabling safe, secure and private transactions between parties without a central mediator owning technology and data. In their current research, Tino Schöllhorn and Achim Ober from platforms2share study whether the diffusion of the technology can be explained by its linkages to illegitimate or legitimate domains at different points in time. They present their paper at this year’s Academy of Management Annual Meeting. more...
How do the fields of blockchain, cooperativism and sharing overlap? (30/07/2020)
Platform organizations that combine sharing business models, cooperative ownership structures and blockchain technology are proposed to be more just and sustainable alternatives to dominant platform models. While attributed a high potential, the spread and legitimacy of such models are low. In their current research, Tino Schöllhorn, Dominika Wruk and Achim Oberg from platforms2share explore the structuration of the three fields involved to explain the current state of the platform economy and its potential future development. They presented their work at this year’s European Group of Organization Studies Colloquium more...
You are a platform cooperative working with blockchain technology? Then apply until February 26th, 2020 for EU-funding from the Blockpool project! (19/02/2020)
You looking for financial support, mentoring or developers to implement your ideas? Be one of 25 blockchain or distributed ledger technology start-ups, to receive funding of up to 30.000 EUR by the European Commission as part of the Blockpool project. more...


Tino Schöllhorn
Tino Schöllhorn
Prof. Dr. Achim Oberg
Prof. Dr. Achim Oberg