The Proto-Entrepreneurial Discovery of Blockchain Applications

26 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2019

Date Written: February 14, 2019


This paper introduces the economic problem of early-stage proto-entrepreneurship, examines its institutional context in self-governed hybrids, and draws implications for the scope and application of policy. Rather than focusing on the disruptive impact of blockchain, this paper uses institutional economics and entrepreneurial theory to emphasise the preceding entrepreneurial discovery process. To perceive a valuable and actionable market opportunity, proto-entrepreneurs must coordinate dispersed non-price information under uncertainty with others. They face unique transaction costs in solving this governance problem. One potential economising solution is collective action governance of proto-entrepreneurial information within hybrid innovation commons (see Allen, 2017, Allen and Potts, 2016a, Potts, 2017). This paper introduces some of the institutional diversity of blockchain innovation commons (e.g. conferences and online groups) and the implications this ecosystem has for blockchain policy. The upshot is that blockchain public policy isn’t confined to removing barriers to applying blockchain technology, but also extends to polices that enable the formation of governance structures that support the blockchain proto-entrepreneurial process.

Keywords: Institutional Economics, Innovation Commons, Proto-entrepreneurship, Blockchain, Cryptoeconomics

JEL Classification: L26, O4

Suggested Citation

Allen, Darcy, The Proto-Entrepreneurial Discovery of Blockchain Applications (February 14, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Darcy Allen (Contact Author)

RMIT University ( email )

440 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne, 3000

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