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Beyond scandal? Blockchain technologies and the fragile legitimacy of post-2008 finance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 November 2023

Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn*
Affiliation:
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands
Moritz Hütten
Affiliation:
Darmstadt Business School, Germany
*
Corresponding author: Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn, University of Groningen, Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat 26 9712 EK Groningen, The Netherlands. Email: m.a.campbell-verduyn@rug.nl.
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Abstract

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How do applications of emergent technologies contribute to the social legitimacy of finance? To address this question, we examine a set of technologies that have received increasing industry, media, and scholarly attention over the past decade: blockchains. Harnessing the concepts of ‘moral economy’ and ‘scandal’, we identify both possibilities and limits for blockchain applications to legitimate a range of monetary and investment activities. However, we also find that a persistent individualisation of responsibility for failures and shortcomings with ‘live’ blockchain experimentation has undermined the potentially legitimating aspects of this technology. Combining a reliance on technological fixes with a persistent individualist moral economy, we conclude, works against efforts to confront head-on the tensions underpinning the on-going legitimacy crises facing finance.

Type
Article
Creative Commons
Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BYCreative Common License - NCCreative Common License - ND
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits noncommercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Copyright
© 2019 The Author(s)

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