Exploring the Governance and Implementation of Sustainable Development Initiatives through Blockchain Technology

Forthcoming in Futures (2020)

16 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2020

See all articles by Karsten Schulz

Karsten Schulz

University of Groningen, Campus Fryslân

Oskar Josef Gstrein

University of Groningen - Campus Fryslân; Europa-Institut, Saarland University

Andrej Zwitter

Campus Fryslân

Date Written: July 29, 2020

Abstract

Societies at large still grapple to categorize digital space as a phenomenon. At the same time, scientists and developers are searching for innovative methods to better understand how the fundamental shifts caused by digital change will affect the future of humanity over the coming decades. Interdisciplinary governance research at the intersection of technological and environmental foresight is urgently needed to minimize the risks of technological change and explore how digitalization may support, hinder or re-shape sustainability transformations. In this article, we focus on the case of ‘blockchain’ or distributed-ledger technology (DLT) to investigate how recent digital technologies may support the implementation of sustainable development initiatives. Our investigation is centered on areas of public administration and governance which will most likely see an adoption of DLT over the next two decades, such as digital identity, social service provision, and innovative climate finance. To allow for a meaningful comparison of various use cases, we propose four guiding questions that can help researchers, decision-makers and practitioners to determine whether DLT might be an appropriate choice for the sustainability-related task at hand. Moreover, we illustrate how the initial design and subsequent implementation of DLTs may support more centralized or networked modes of governance.

Keywords: blockchain, distributed ledger technology, anticipatory governance, SDGs, digitalization, innovation

JEL Classification: O32, O33

Suggested Citation

Schulz, Karsten and Gstrein, Oskar Josef and Zwitter, Andrej, Exploring the Governance and Implementation of Sustainable Development Initiatives through Blockchain Technology (July 29, 2020). Forthcoming in Futures (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3663149

Karsten Schulz (Contact Author)

University of Groningen, Campus Fryslân ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.rug.nl/staff/k.a.schulz/

Oskar Josef Gstrein

University of Groningen - Campus Fryslân ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.rug.nl/staff/o.j.gstrein/

Europa-Institut, Saarland University ( email )

Campus, Gebäude B2.1
Saarbrücken, 66123
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://europainstitut.de

Andrej Zwitter

Campus Fryslân ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

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