Hanseatic Governance: Understanding Blockchain as Organizational Technology

Publication Type:

Conference Paper




Blockchain technology provides a distributed ledger and is based on a logic of peer to peer authentication. It gained prominence with the rise of cryptocurrencies but provides a much broader field of possible applications. While it has been originally closely linked to a libertarian agenda rejecting organizations, its developments have illustrated that this ideological framing is being reversed in practice. Based on contrastive empirical cases, the purpose of our paper is to discuss blockchain as an organizational technology. Its peculiar mode of governance, which we name ‘Hanseatic’, needs to mediate between the fluidity typical of Free and Open Source Software development and the immutability that use organizations adopt blockchain for.