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The challenges faced by blockchain technologies – Part 1


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In 2016, interest in blockchain technologies has been increasing. Understanding of the technologies and investments in the field have been picking up and some use cases, besides digital currencies, are being explored. While several publications evaluate the disruptive power of blockchain-based systems, the literature on the challenges and hindrances to the successful development of blockchainbased systems is still limited. The aim of this paper, the first in a two-part series, is therefore to investigate the most important challenges limiting the widespread adoption of blockchain technologies and to provide a comprehensive overview of the latest developments in this space. The paper is divided in two parts. The first offers an overview of the main events that have occurred in the blockchain space so far by providing an analysis of alternative blockchain technologies applications: digital currencies, asset registries, application stacks and asset-centric technologies. The second section analyses the current challenges faced by blockchain technologies, dividing them into technical, business and legal challenges. To get more insights into the challenges, the authors have designed two surveys which received 295 responses from scholars and professionals with expertise on blockchains. Initial observations point to the fact that legal challenges are perceived as the most important ones, while business challenges are the ones that have to be solved first according to the respondents to the survey. The paper concludes with the analysis of the data gathered from the surveys and a final discussion and suggestions for further research.
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Keywords: FinTech; blockchain; distributed ledger technologies; finance

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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