Why do blockchains split? An actor-network perspective on Bitcoin splits

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2019-11-01
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
Series
Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 148
Abstract
This paper investigates the focal actors in a blockchain network and their heterogeneity in splits. Disagreements in blockchain communities often lead to splits in both the blockchain and the community. We use three key elements of the actor-network theory — punctualization, translation, and actor heterogeneity—and employ case study methodology to examine Bitcoin splits. We identify several human actors, such as miners, developers, merchants, and investors, as well as non-human actors, including blockchain, exchanges, hardware manufacturers, and wallets, involved in Bitcoin splits. Our results show that the consolidation of actors in homogeneous groups plays a key role in blockchain splits. We further describe how the human and non-human actors' fluid moves into micro and macro actor positions in the network affect the development of the split. In addition, we discuss the roles of these actors and their engagement in forming micro and macro agencies in blockchain splits.
Description
Keywords
Actor-network theory, Bitcoin, Blockchain, Fork, Heterogeneity, Split
Other note
Citation
Islam, A K M N, Mäntymäki, M & Turunen, M 2019, ' Why do blockchains split? An actor-network perspective on Bitcoin splits ', Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 148, 119743 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2019.119743