Blockchains and institutional competition in innovation systems

Brendan Markey-Towler (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

ISSN: 2045-2101

Publication date: 28 August 2019



The purpose of this paper is to introduce the notion of blockchain as an institutional technology, defend the idea of National Innovation Systems as institutional systems, and then make use of the theory of institutional competition to characterise challenges posed by innovation public policy by blockchain technology.


The approach is to consider the nature of blockchain technology as an institutional technology, and to consider the nature of National Innovation Systems as institutional systems. The author then applies a theory of institutional competition developed elsewhere to appraise the interaction of the two.


The author expects for there to emerge sustained competition for National Innovation Systems from innovation systems implemented using blockchains. There will be pressure exerted by the latter upon the former to become more integrated, secure, usable and to greater support profit expectations for entrepreneurs.


The theory of institutional competition upon which this work is based makes use of cutting-edge behavioural and institutional economics. It has hitherto only been applied at a general level and has not been applied to a specific set of institutions such as National Innovation Systems.



Markey-Towler, B. (2019), "Blockchains and institutional competition in innovation systems", Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 185-193.

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