Research

Follow the latest Blockchain research by members of our Academic Faculty Network.

Blockchain Research Series

The research series is one way the Blockchain Center of Excellence is working towards achieving the vision of being a premier academic leader of blockchain application research and education. Our resources are published below in three different formats: briefings, case studies and whitepapers.

Research Briefings 

Research briefings are short articles aimed to quickly disseminate key ideas related to blockchain topics.  

Case Studies

Creating a viable ecosystem, agreeing on the business models, systemic governance and standards, as well as complying with regulations can be as challenging as building the technology. These case studies examine how a single blockchain application was conceived, designed and deployed under such complex circumstances. 

White Papers

White papers are in-depth investigations of blockchain-related issues. Our team writes for a wide-range of audiences, including: 

  • Senior Executives looking for the answer to “So what?”
  • IT and Innovation Directors needing deeper insights
  • Students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels

White papers are available to the public following a 60 day sequester period with our Executive Advisor Board member firms. Hashes of each white paper are stored on the Bitcoin blockchain using a service by poex.io.

 

Research Links

 

“Authenticating real news with ANSAcheck, a blockchain-enabled solution developed by ANSA and EY”

BCoE 2020-02 by Mary Lacity and Dan Conway

 

Digital platforms like social media have amplified the creation and distribution of fake news. Fake news threatens not only our trust in the press, but has wide-ranging negative effects on politics, business, health, and society. We present an example of authenticating real news with a solution called ANSAcheck, developed by Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA)—Italy’s top news wire service—and Ernst & Young (EY)—one of the world’s largest professional services firms. ANSAcheck’s underlying blockchain technology provides verifiable authentication as to source, updates, and reposting of legitimate news stories. This Blockchain Center of Excellence (BCoE) case study provides an overview of fake news, covers the development of the ANSAcheck solution thus far, and offers general lessons for this and other types of ecosystem solutions.

“2020 State of Enterprise Blockchain Services”

by HfS Research

“The BCoE is pleased to share this HfS Research Report, The HFS Top 10 Enterprise Blockchain Services 20202.  HfS Research is a top global consulting firm that focuses on innovations that impact enterprises.  In this report, the authors investigate 4,200 blockchain engagements across industries and around the globe.  This comprehensive and insightful report provides an in-depth look at the business impact, popular use cases, and the public-vs. private blockchain race.  The report identified two BCoE Executive Advisory Board Members, IBM and EY, among the top three blockchain enterprise service providers based on execution, innovation, and customer delivery.  As a founding member of HfS’s FORA (the Future of Operations in the Robotic Age) Leadership Council, I am proud to share leading research with the BCoE community.” –  Professor Mary Lacity, Director of BCoE

“Reinventing Talent Acquisition: The SmartResume® Solution”

BCoE 2020-01 by Mary Lacity, Director of the Blockchain Center of Excellence

In the BCoE’s first published Case Study, we explore how talent acquisition remains a process wrought with fraudulent claims by applicants, selection bias by hiring firms, and data privacy violations by platforms and recruiters. The SmartResume solution, developed by iDatafy, establishes a trusted platform for talent acquisition based on verified credentials that are secured with blockchain technology

“An overview of the ‘Internet of Value’, powered by blockchain technologies”

BCoE 2019-030 by Mary Lacity, Director of the Blockchain Center of Excellence

The Blockchain Center of Excellence (BCoE) at the University of Arkansas wrote this research briefing to explain the Internet of Value and the blockchain foundations needed to build it. We provide a realistic impression of the state of enterprise blockchain solutions and what executives need to consider now.

“Blockchain Governance Models: Insights for Enterprises”

BCoE 2019-020 by Mary Lacity, Zach Steelman, and Paul Cronan

In this white paper, we answer the research question: “What are emerging models and practices for shared governance over blockchains?”  Beyond the founders, potential enterprise adopters need assurances that governance will be truly shared; that there are verifiable controls to prevent the rise of powerful alliances to prevent their self-interests from superseding the interests of all ecosystem participants. We provide several examples of how governance can evolve as solutions scale.

Proof-of-existence on the Bitcoin Network:
Hash of the white paper is stored in the script of this transaction: 59bc2a40229bd12d8ca75dc0aecb37ce7249a607d6d0dee711fee303170eda8d in Block 604095

“Towards Blockchain 3.0 Interoperability: Business and Technical Considerations”

BCoE 2019-01O by Mary Lacity, Zach Steelman, and Paul Cronan

 

This focus of this white paper is to help bridge the disconnect about general blockchain interoperability by highlighting the top-down business and bottom-up technical considerations, as well as emerging solutions. We want to answer the research question: “How can enterprises approach interoperability when the technology is immature and rapidly changing?” As enterprises explore blockchain solutions, they are increasingly concerned about the proliferation of blockchains, how blockchain applications will connect with each other and with legacy systems, and the fear of getting locked into solutions too early. 

Proof-of-existence on the Bitcoin Network:
Transaction ID: 1d0b072c3533757556b12ddf59fc4a66a3e8d6de274904cbcd39f82e609c017e
Hash of the white paper is stored in the script of this transaction: 84CCFABEEEAEA368213073997D7661F6A55C9AA20373B9269456EAF22DC1E439

Books on Blockchain

Regulation of Cryptotransactions

The materials in this book are designed to look at cryptoassets and the expanding world of cryptotransactions to examine how the regulatory regime surrounding these interests is developing. Because the regulatory reaction to crypto is still in the early stages, it is not really possible to create a traditional casebook that focuses only on settled judicial opinions to illustrate relevant legal issues and rules. These materials therefore look at various statutes, rules, and regulatory structures that predate the advent of crypto along with mission and informational statements promulgated by the agencies most closely involved with regulation of cryptotransactions.

Blockchain Foundations: For the Internet of Value 

The target audience is business students, professionals, and managers who want to learn about the overall blockchain landscape — the investments, the size of markets, major players and the global reach — as well as the potential business value of blockchain applications and the challenges that must be overcome to achieve that value.

Based on case studies and interviews with over 100 executives, the this book explains blockchain foundations in easy-to-understand terms; presents over a dozen enterprise solutions that are in production today across financial services, supply chains, energy, and other industries; and identifies the action principles to move enterprises from aspirations to business and social value delivered. Readers will learn enough about the underlying technologies to speak intelligently to technology experts in the space, as the guide also covers the blockchain protocols, code bases and provides a glossary of terms.

We use this guide as the textbook for our undergraduate and graduate Blockchain Fundamentals course at the University of Arkansas. Other professors interested in adopting this guide for instructional purposes are welcome to contact the author for supporting instructional materials.

A Manager’s Guide to Blockchains for Businesses: From Knowing What to Knowing How

Based on interviews in global enterprises and startups, surveys, and participant observation research, this book focuses on how enterprises are actually building blockchain applications for business today. This comprehensive guide is written for leaders, managers, business students, and other inquisitive people who want to understand how enterprises can use blockchains to transact directly with trading partners; automatically execute business agreements; instantly track and trace assets through a supply chain; and settle transactions quickly and cheaply on a secure platform.

While readers will learn enough about the underlying technology to speak intelligently to blockchain experts, the guide focuses on the business challenges that must be overcome to realize the promised business value. The author presents a three-phased framework and action principles for making blockchains for business real. Most imperatively, global enterprises will need to shift their mindsets when moving from their current command-and-control centralized business applications to the shared governance models of distributed blockchain applications.

Integrating Blockchain Into Supply Chain Management

For all the promises blockchain offers to supply chain professionals, there’s very little guidance available on how organizations should begin evaluating and using it. Integrating Blockchain into Supply Chain Management provides that much needed step by step guidance.

Integrating Blockchain into Supply Chain Management is a very practical book of tools, frameworks and case studies. It will help students and supply chain managers to evaluate the value proposition blockchain brings. It will then guide them through essential processes for making informed, practical, timely, and business-savvy decisions for using blockchain as an effective supply chain tool. It includes a valuable benchmark survey of the state of play in blockchain in supply chain management, including organisations such as Tyson Foods, IBM and Coca Cola

Research Articles

Lacity, M. (November 29, 2019), “US and China Battle for Blockchain Dominance,” Cointelegraph.
     

Lacity, M. (2018), “Addressing Key Challenges to Making Enterprise Blockchain Applications a Reality,” MIS Quarterly Executive, Vol. 17, 3, pp. 201-222.
      “Awarded Best Paper in MISQE in 2018”

Lacity, M. (2018), “Enterprise Blockchains: Eight sources of business value and the obstacles in their way,” Intelligent Sourcing, Summer Issue, pp. 24-31.

Beck, R. (2018), “Beyond Bitcoin: The Rise of Blockchain World,” Computer, Vol. 51, 2, pp. 54-58.

Pedersen, A., Risius, M., and Beck, R. (2019), “BLOCKCHAIN DECISION PATH: ‘WHEN TO USE BLOCKCHAIN?’ – ‘WHICH BLOCKCHAIN DO YOU MEAN?,’ MIS Quarterly Executive, forthcoming.

van Hoek, R. (2019), “Unblocking the chain – findings from an executive workshop on blockchain in the supply chain”, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal