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Blockchain, business and the fourth industrial revolution: Whence, whither, wherefore and how?

Kimani, D; Adams, K; Attah-Boakye, R; Ullah, S; Frecknall-Hughes, J; Kim, Ja


D Kimani

K Adams

R Attah-Boakye

S Ullah

J Frecknall-Hughes

Ja Kim


Blockchain is one the most remarkable technological innovations of the 21st century. The most notable application of blockchain is in the development and operation of cryptocurrencies (e.g. bitcoin, ethereum, among others). Besides the financial services industry, blockchain is also considered in other sectors such as international trade, taxation, supply chain management, business operations and governance. However, blockchain has not been examined comprehensively in all areas of relevant literature. This article conducts a survey of the literature to gain an understanding of the opportunities and issues presented by blockchain in various business functions. The article begins by providing a discussion regarding how the blockchain technology operates. The paper takes a broad focus in its analysis of the prospects of blockchain for various business functions, including banking and the capital markets, corporate governance, international trade, and taxation. The paper demonstrates how organisations and regulators can leverage blockchain to upscale business operations, enhance efficiency and reduce operational costs. The key drawbacks of blockchain that stakeholders need to bear in mind before adopting the technology are also highlighted. The article also reflects on how organisations can tap into blockchain to reap the full potential of the fourth industrial revolution.


Kimani, D., Adams, K., Attah-Boakye, R., Ullah, S., Frecknall-Hughes, J., & Kim, J. (2020). Blockchain, business and the fourth industrial revolution: Whence, whither, wherefore and how?. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 161, Article 120254.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 12, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 28, 2020
Publication Date 2020-12
Deposit Date Dec 28, 2020
Publicly Available Date Mar 1, 2022
Journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Print ISSN 0040-1625
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 161
Article Number 120254
Keywords Blockchain; Business functions; Fourth industrial revolution; Technological innovations; Fintech
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