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The blockchain as a sustainable business model innovation

Riccardo Tiscini (Faculty of Economics, Mercatorum University, Rome, Italy)
Silvia Testarmata (Faculty of Economics, Niccoló Cusano University, Rome, Italy)
Mirella Ciaburri (Faculty of Economics, Niccoló Cusano University, Rome, Italy)
Emanuele Ferrari (Faculty of Economics, Niccoló Cusano University, Rome, Italy)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 27 March 2020

Issue publication date: 4 December 2020




The purpose of this paper is to strive to close the current research gap pertaining to potential implications of the blockchain (BC) for sustainable business models (SBMs) in the agri-food industry.


To answer the research question, the authors utilised the Value Triangle framework by Biloslavo et al. (2018) in order to explore the potential innovation of BC for SBMs in the agri-food industry. Then, the authors apply it to an in-depth exploratory case study of the Placido Volpone winery. The authors draw data from strategic plans, annual reports, corporate website and a semi-structured interview with the winery's founder.


The authors show how BC technology could be a source of SBM innovation in the agri-food industry.

Research limitations/implications

BC technology has the potential to significantly change SBMs. Given the huge set-up investments by the industry, academic research investigating potential implications and supporting companies in their application of BC is needed. This paper explores how the implications of BC as source of innovation on SBMs can be investigated.

Practical implications

The research results of this study can be used by company leaders and managers to support the development of SBMs through the introduction of BC technology in their business activities.


The paper is novel because it investigates the relationship between SBM innovation and BC providing theoretical justification to SBM technological innovation in an agri-food setting. Additionally, the paper provides an empirical application of the framework by Biloslavo et al. (2018) for understanding the development of SBM through BC in the agri-food industry.



The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for their insightful comments and useful suggestions. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of Tracey Auerbach in proofreading, the contribution of the Placido Volpone winery and Mr. Domenico Volpone who gave his time to be interviewed.


Tiscini, R., Testarmata, S., Ciaburri, M. and Ferrari, E. (2020), "The blockchain as a sustainable business model innovation", Management Decision, Vol. 58 No. 8, pp. 1621-1642.



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