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Blockchain technology for viable circular digital supplychains: an integrated approach for evaluating the implementation barriers

Abla Chaouni Benabdellah (International University of Rabat, Rabat, Morocco)
Kamar Zekhnini (ENSAM–MEKNES, Moulay Ismail University, Meknes, Morocco)
Anass Cherrafi (EST-Safi, Cadi Ayyad University, Safi, Morocco)
Jose Arturo Garza-Reyes (Centre for Supply Chain Improvement, University of Derby, Derby, UK)
Anil Kumar (University of Derby, Derby, UK)
Jamal El Baz (Ibn Zohr University, Agadir, Morocco)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 17 January 2023

Issue publication date: 1 December 2023




Blockchain technology (BT) is creating a new standard for all business operations. It can assist businesses in handling the complexity of circular digital supply chain (DCM) management. Despite this optimistic view, several barriers hinder its implementation. In this regard, this study contributes to Industry 4.0, circular economy (CE), the viability with a critical emphasis on its potential ramifications and influence on the future agenda while using BT technology in the supply chain (SC). In addition, the research reduces the knowledge gap by investigating and ranking the key barriers to the deployment of BT in viable circular digital supply chains (VCDSCs) and studies their interdependencies and causal relationships. The purpose of this paper is to address these issues.


The barriers to BT adoption in the VCDSC are identified through a thorough literature review and considering viability performance. These barriers are then classified using the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) method. Decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) is then employed to examine the cause/effect, correlation, and connection among the 14 barriers selected barriers from the AHP classification to estimate each barrier's overall degree of impact over the others.


This paper identifies and analyzes the BT adoption barriers in the VCDSC as well as examines how the key barriers interact. As a result, according to the AHP/DEMATEL method, the most prominent influencing barriers to the BT implementation in the VCDSC are “Data transparency,” “Market competition,” “Missing infrastructure,” “Lack of standardization,” “Complex protocol,” “Lack of industry involvement,” “Financial constraints,” “Missing infrastructure,” “Data transparency” and “Interoperability.” The outcomes offer a potential path for identifying important barriers as well as insight into the implementation of BT in the SC while integrating different capabilities such as viability, sustainability and CE principles.

Practical implications

Managers and researchers will benefit from this research by gaining an understanding of the challenges that must be prioritized and examined for BT to be implemented successfully in the VCDSC.


The use and implementation of blockchain-enabled VCDSC continue to face challenges despite an increase in relevant practice and research. Despite the benefits of BT, managers struggle to apply such technology in the context of their company. In this respect, this paper uses an integrated AHP–DEMATEL for categorizing the BT barriers as well as the interrelationship between them. In this respect, this paper presents the BT barriers studied are those related to the use of BT in the SC while integrating different paradigms such as viability, digitalization and CE. While many studies look at the barriers to BT adoption; none of them has ever included the viable capability, which means the ability to “react agilely to positive changes, be resilient to absorb negative events and re-cover after disruptions and survive at long-term periods.” The study concludes with insightful comments based on the findings and suggestions for eradicating those obstacles and their associated effects.



Chaouni Benabdellah, A., Zekhnini, K., Cherrafi, A., Garza-Reyes, J.A., Kumar, A. and El Baz, J. (2023), "Blockchain technology for viable circular digital supplychains: an integrated approach for evaluating the implementation barriers", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 30 No. 10, pp. 4397-4424.



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