Special Session: Blockchain Technology and How It Will Change Marketing: An Abstract

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Book Contribution

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Blockchain was first described in 1991 by Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta as a methodology to timestamp documents and became popular with the introduction of cryptocurrency in 2008. A blockchain can be both public and private and is often described as a special ledger (like a spreadsheet) with five distinctive features. (1) It is distributed, with no central database that if a copy is corrupted others can replace it. Although each participating member on the blockchain has access to the database, there is no single controller of the information. Every member can verify transactions directly without involving intermediaries. (2) Transactions are peer to peer. There is no central node for transactions. Each peer stores and forwards transactions to all other peers. (3) It is transparent, with all transactions visible in the blockchain. Members are given access to the blockchain and all nodes of the transaction. (4) It is immutable. Once a transaction is created in the chain and the accounts are updated, it cannot be altered. (5) It is based in cryptography, the connection of the blocks is cryptographically secured, and the last line of the block is added as the first line in the next block. Each block is connected to the preceding chain making the record chronological and permanent. Furthermore, the blockchain can be programmed to include rules that activate transactions between nodes. Blockchain technology expedites and solves many business challenges. For example, blockchain technology can be used for payment processing, fraud detection, supply chain management, and verification of ownership. Blockchain technology continues to gain recognition by consumers and companies promising to disrupt existing centralized establishments while improving transparency and increasing accountability. This special session has several objectives. First, we will discuss blockchain technology and how it functions. Second, we will introduce cases of how industries are using this technology. Finally, we will propose a research framework that corresponds with four distinct exchange relationships: consumer-to-consumer, firm-to-firm, firm-to-consumer, and consumer-to-firm.