Call for Papers

CfP special issue on "Potential and limits of blockchain technology for networked businesses"

No longer accepting submissions

Guest Editors

  • Bons, Roger W.H., FOM University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • Shi, Larry W., University of Houston, USA
  • Versendaal, Johan, Open University, the Netherlands


New ways to organize economic activities are emerging, facilitated by Blockchain technology (a.k.a.  Distributed Ledger Technology). Blockchains consist of dynamic shared ledgers that can be applied to save time when recording transactions between parties, remove costs associated with intermediaries or, according to Nakamoto (2008), remove the need for intermediaries altogether, while enabling the introduction of pseudonymous parties on the Internet. It has taken businesses and industries some time to recognize that the underlying technology of Bitcoin might be the next big thing to disrupt their current business model. All too often, the focus of the media coverage is on the connection of cyber-currencies to criminal activities or on the highly speculative nature of their exchange rates and issues with coin exchanges. 

In this Call for Paper, we are looking to qualify this disruptive potential, as we recognize that Blockchain technology has much broader and deeper applications beyond cybercurrencies. We take a broad and neutral view on the technology and consider it a facilitator for new coordination mechanisms for networked businesses. The coordination of inter-organizational transactions traditionally requires a significant amount of redundancy, with all organizations trying to keep track of the current status of the transaction by communicating intensively and continuously updating each of their respective systems. Blockchains provide for unequivocal and undisputable records of what has occurred, providing a single and accessible “truth” to all stakeholders involved. And with the emergence of “smart contracts”, the actual execution of parts of the transaction might be automated as well, reducing or even eliminating the need for back-office operations. 

The transparency of the system and the assurance that all participants will play by the rules takes the “markets versus hierarchies” discussion to the next level, when electronic markets can be created that are not governed by a single entity, but rather by the community they serve and that might exist only in the virtual space – implemented as “Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), where “the code is the entire company” (Diedrich, 2016). This might very well lead to completely different roles for current players, if not extinction. 

Blockchain might thus facilitate and contribute to other disruptive innovations, such as the sharing economy, the circular economy as well as smart grids that help businesses and private households to become independent in their energy provisioning. The challenge for scientists now is to distinguish between the hype and the core value of this phenomenon, to reason about the business potential including the potential to disrupt trusted business models, but also to address some of the deeper technical foundations such as scalability, accountability and security. We are looking to broaden the understanding in order to help organizations and societies in reaping the benefits while safeguarding against inherent risks associated with the technology.

Central issues and themes

Possible topics of submissions include, but are not limited to:

  • Effects of Blockchain on networked business models
  • Characteristics of business models that will be most disrupted by Blockchain
  • Visions on the (r)evolution of “trust” and “trusted third parties” in a Blockchain world
  • Case studies on which assets and capabilities Blockchain enabled organizations should have
  • Case studies on how Blockchain technology can be integrated in existing inter- and intra-organizational IT architectures
  • Approaches to address governance conflicts arising from the technology being utilized in highly regulated environments such as banking or healthcare (especially in case of DAOs)
  • Empirical tests on the resolution of technical issues, such as scalability and security
  • Ramifications of having anonymous or pseudonymous actors in transactions, especially in a cross-border setting
  • The role of regulatory bodies in keeping control on the one hand (anti-money laundry, anti-terrorist financing etc.) and having systems that “run on their own” on the other.


We welcome these and other topics and encourage contributions with a broad range of methodological approaches, including conceptual, qualitative and quantitative research. All papers should fit Electronic Markets’ scope ( and will undergo a double-blind peer review process. If you would like to discuss any aspect of the special issue, please contact the special issue editors about the fit prior to submission.


Electronic Markets is a SSCI-listed journal (IF 1.864) and requires that all papers must be original and not published or under review elsewhere. Papers must be submitted via our electronic submission system at and conform to Electronic Markets publication standards (see instructions and templates at Please note that the preferred article length is around 8,000 words.

Submission Deadline: January 15, 2019



Nakamoto, S. (2008). Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system., accessed June, 9, 2018.

Diedrich, H. (2016). Ethereum: Blockchains, digital assets, smart contracts, decentralized autonomous organizations. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.