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Born global on blockchain

Tatiana Zalan (School of Business Administration, American University in Dubai, Media City, Dubai, UAE)

Review of International Business and Strategy

ISSN: 2059-6014

Article publication date: 5 March 2018




The purpose of this paper is to alert international business (IB) and international entrepreneurship (IE) researchers of a new phenomenon and novel research opportunities arising as a result of digital innovations brought about by the new, decentralized internet popularly known as “blockchain”. The paper contains a general overview of the blockchain technology and maps connections with the IB/IE literature, focusing on explaining accelerated internationalization of firms that are born global on blockchain.


The paper is a viewpoint based on the author’s ongoing research on blockchain and fintech and reflections on the born global literature. The paper has benefited from the author’s insights through her involvement in the global blockchain community as an investor and advisor.


The author argues for establishing a theoretical link between the born global literature and the literature on the economics of information goods and platform economics to explain the pace of international growth in the context of blockchain start-ups.

Research limitations/implications

The author urges IB/IE researchers to pay attention to research opportunities in the blockchain area, especially those related to explaining rapid internationalization of digital start-ups and a new organizational form for organizing cross-border activities known as decentralized autonomous organization.


Three factors are shown to contribute to a rapid internationalization of blockchain start-ups: network effects, solving the chicken-and-egg problem and building an ecosystem around the evolving technology.



Zalan, T. (2018), "Born global on blockchain", Review of International Business and Strategy, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 19-34.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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