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The Affordances of Blockchain Platforms: Why Service Providers Use Blockchains

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Digitalization Across Organizational Levels

Part of the book series: Progress in IS ((PROIS))

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Abstract

Contemporary blockchain platforms differ in their technological features and are under active development as open-source projects. Nonetheless, they have the potential to fuel substantial socio-economic changes. The scale of such changes, however, requires not only blockchain platforms but also organizations that develop and provide services on top of these platforms. Yet, little is known as to why service providers use specific blockchain platforms to offer their services or how they deal with the developmental state of blockchain platforms. This study, therefore, strives to identify the general affordances of blockchain platforms for service providers and aims to understand how service providers respond to different affordances on distinct platforms. Based on Affordance Theory and grounded in the analysis of 19 cases of blockchain service providers on the three most prominent blockchain platforms, we identify five types of salient affordances (i.e., validity affordances, analytical affordances, automation affordances, decentralization affordances, generative affordances). We explain how they result from specific features of blockchain platforms and from properties of the provided service. We lastly show that service providers’ use of a blockchain platform depends not only on the salient affordances of the platform but also on the values that are enacted by the open-source community behind it.

Financial support for Marten Risius from the Algorand Foundation through the Algorand Centre of Excellence (ACE) on Sustainability Informatics for the Pacific is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Kai Spohrer .

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Spohrer, K., Risius, M. (2022). The Affordances of Blockchain Platforms: Why Service Providers Use Blockchains. In: Dibbern, J., Förderer, J., Kude, T., Rothlauf, F., Spohrer, K. (eds) Digitalization Across Organizational Levels. Progress in IS. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-06543-9_8

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