Research Area:  Blockchain Technology
This thesis investigates blockchain technology and whether its mutually cooperative topology and commons-based peer production practices have implications for society because, instead of the traditional top-down, centralized model of governance, blockchains represent an alternative way of collaborating. Much of the literature anticipates the vast potential of the permanent and publicly auditable nature of the propagated values of blockchains. Indeed, writers have supposed that the smart contract capabilities of the technology may prove revolutionary for areas beyond that of the economic domain targeted by the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which is the first successful use-case of a blockchain.
This thesis asks four research questions. The first asks whether blockchains can help reduce energy consumption. The second asks whether blockchains can help digitize the informal sector. The third asks whether blockchains can help counter fake news. The final question asks whether blockchains can help address criticisms of humanitarian aid. Those topics are four amongst many urgent problems currently facing humankind, and therefore, the overarching research question of this thesis becomes whether blockchains can help humanity. This work advances the supposed potential of blockchains proposed by current literature by using design science research to create software artefacts that propose solutions for incentivizing energy efficiency, fighting financial fraud, providing digital provenance and adding trust to humanitarian aid reporting.
Name of the Researcher:  Steven Huckle
Name of the Supervisor(s):  Martin White
Year of Completion:  2019
University:  University of Sussex
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