Business on Chain: A Comparative Case Study of Five Blockchain-inspired Business Models

Alain Yee Loong Chong, Eric T.K. Lim, Xiuping Hua, Shuning Zheng, Chee-Wee Tan

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Blockchain technology, despite its origins as the underlying infrastructure for value transfer in the era of cryptocurrency, has been touted as the main disruptive force in modern businesses. Blockchain has the capacity to chronologically capture and store transactional data in a standardized and tamper-proof format that is transparent to all stakeholders involved in the transaction. This, in turn, has prompted companies to rethink preexisting business practices, thereby yielding a myriad of fascinating business models anchored in blockchain technology. In this study, we advance contemporary knowledge of business applications of blockchain by drawing on the theoretical lens of the digital business model and value configuration to decipher how pioneers in this space are leveraging blockchain to create and capture value. Through a comparative, multiple case study approach, we analyzed five companies in mainland China that have rolled out blockchain initiatives. From our case analyses, we derived a typology of five blockchain-inspired business models, each of which embodies a distinctive logic for market differentiation. For each business model, we offer insights into its value creation logic, its value capturing mechanism, and the challenges that could threaten its longer-term viability. Grounded in our findings, we discuss key implications for theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Systems
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1310-1339
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Blockchain
  • Digital business model
  • Value creation logic
  • Value capturing mechanism

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