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

Danson Kimani, Kweku Adams, Rexford Attah-Boakye, Subhan Ullah*, Jane Frecknall-Hughes, Ja Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120254
Number of pages16
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date28 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Blockchain
  • Business functions
  • Fintech
  • Fourth industrial revolution
  • Technological innovations

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