Banking on Blockchain: An Evaluation of Innovation Decision Making

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2020


Blockchain, decision making, distributed ledger technology (DLT), financial services, innovation management, product development

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Blockchain technology has received significant attention following the introduction of Bitcoin in 2008. In particular, the financial services industry has sought to capitalize on the underlying technology, known as distributed ledger technology, to generate new products, services, and innovative business models. In this article, through an in-depth investigation of the technology innovation evaluation process, we utilize a grounded theory approach to study 12 financial service organizations. This article is unique in that it explores the technology evaluation process concurrently as decision makers reacted to the potential uses, as opposed to a retrospective view after a technology innovation had been adopted. Evidence suggests that, organizations applied a specific process to determine the value of blockchain that consisted of understand, organize, and test, which collectively helped create the proof-of-value model. Surprisingly, we find that financial service organizations tend to view blockchain innovation as a lower priority due to the lack of a clear path to value. Additionally, financial service organizations consistently leverage industry consortiums to link to external knowledge and help with the decision-making process. Our findings have direct implications to both innovation researchers as well as practitioners seeking to evaluate blockchain technology.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, v. 67, issue 4, p. 1129-1141