Blockchain Technology for Corporate Governance and Shareholder Activism

33 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2018

See all articles by Anne Lafarre

Anne Lafarre

Tilburg Law School, Business Law Department; Tilburg Law School

Christoph Van der Elst

Tilburg Law School; Ghent University-Universiteit Gent - Department of Business Law

Date Written: March 2018

Abstract

Blockchain is a technology that can offer smart solutions for classical corporate governance inefficiencies, especially in the relationship between shareholders and the company. Annual General Meetings (AGMs) are generally considered dull mandatory yearly rituals and its important theoretical functions, the information, forum and decision-making functions, are de facto eroded. In addition, the AGM suffers from procedural flaws, especially when shareholders vote remotely. Therefore we make a strong plea for the modernization of the AGM with the use of blockchain technology. Blockchain technology can lower shareholder voting costs and the organization costs for companies substantially. Moreover, blockchain technology can increase the speed of decision-making, facilitate fast and efficient involvement of shareholders. In addition, the main problems with the current chains of intermediaries and remote voting system have to do with transparency, verification and identification – issues that are directly linked to the advantages of blockchain technology. The recent prototypes of blockchain-based AGMs that are discussed in this contribution show that blockchain technology as tool for shareholder participation is definitely feasible.

Keywords: Shareholders, general meeting, blockchain, distributed ledger technology, central banks

JEL Classification: G32, G34, G38, K22, K24, O16

Suggested Citation

Lafarre, Anne and Van der Elst, Christoph, Blockchain Technology for Corporate Governance and Shareholder Activism (March 2018). European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) - Law Working Paper No. 390/2018; Tilburg Law School Research Paper No. 2018-7. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3135209 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3135209

Anne Lafarre

Tilburg Law School, Business Law Department ( email )

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Tilburg Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC 5000 LE
Netherlands

Christoph Van der Elst (Contact Author)

Tilburg Law School ( email )

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Ghent University-Universiteit Gent - Department of Business Law ( email )

Universiteitstraat 4
Gent, B-9000
Belgium

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