Is Blockchain a General Purpose Technology?

27 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2017

Date Written: March 11, 2017


Is Blockchain a General Purpose Technology? To answer this question, we create a new method for identifying General Purpose Technologies, utilising contemporary data rather than historical, and use it to identify Blockchain as a General Purpose Technology. We survey 200 Blockchain applications, identifying their function and grouping them by what sector they operate in. This data is used to show that Blockchain shares characteristics with General Purpose Technologies to such a degree that it can be identified as such even though it is still an emerging technology. We conclude with a look at the implications of our findings and examining the problems in identifying a General Purpose Technology at this early stage of its development.

Keywords: Blockchain, General Purpose Technology, Economics

Suggested Citation

Kane, Ethan, Is Blockchain a General Purpose Technology? (March 11, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Ethan Kane (Contact Author)

RMIT University ( email )

Level 12, 239 Bourke Street
Melbourne, Victoria

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