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Government by Code? Blockchain Applications to Public Sector Governance

Bustamante, Pedro and Cai, Meina and Gomez, Marcela and Harris, Colin and Krishnamurthy, Prashant and Law, Wilson and Madison, Michael J. and Murtazashvili, Ilia and Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick and Mylovanov, Tymofiy and Shapoval, Nataliia and Vee, Annette and Weiss, Martin B.H. (2022) Government by Code? Blockchain Applications to Public Sector Governance. Frontiers in Blockchain, 5 (869665).

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Studies of blockchain governance can be divided into analyses of the governance of blockchains (such as rules and power dynamics within a given network) and governance by blockchains (such as how blockchains can be implemented to improve self-governance of community-based peer production networks). Less emphasis has been placed on applications of distributed ledgers to public sector governance. Our review clarifies that the decentralization and distributive features that enable blockchains to link up loosely connected private organizations and public agencies to improve efficiency and transparency of government transactions. However, most blockchain applications lack clear advantages over the conventional digital recording of information. In addition, our review highlights that blockchain applications in public sector governance are potentially vast, though in most instances, the existing applications have not extended much beyond limited-scale pilots. We conclude with a call for the construction of indexes of public sector implementations of blockchains, as none yet exist, as well as for additional research to understand why governments have not deployed blockchains more widely.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bustamante, Pedropjb63@pitt.edu0000-0001-9952-5453
Cai, Meinameina.cai@uconn.edu0000-0002-8571-7398
Gomez, Marcelammg62@pitt.edu0000-0002-7161-9359
Harris, Colinharris14@stolaf.edu0000-0003-3968-7287
Krishnamurthy, Prashantprashk@pitt.edu0000-0001-7969-0697
Law, Wilsonwilson_law@baylor.edu0000-0001-9408-7001
Madison, Michael J.madison@pitt.edu0000-0001-6503-754X
Murtazashvili, Iliailia.murtazashvili@pitt.edu0000-0001-9096-9287
Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brickjmurtaz@pitt.edu0000-0003-4919-9287
Mylovanov, Tymofiytym10@pitt.edu0000-0002-1448-0020
Vee, Annetteannettevee@pitt.edu0000-0003-2975-4466
Weiss, Martin B.H.mbw@pitt.edu0000-00016785-0913
Date: 21 June 2022
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Blockchain
Volume: 5
Number: 869665
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3389/fbloc.2022.869665
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
School of Computing and Information > Information Science
School of Law > Law
School of Law > Law > Faculty Publications
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: polycentricity, public sector governance, legal institutions, public procurement, blockchains
Official URL:
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2022 20:11
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2022 20:11


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