The socio-technical assemblages of blockchain system: how blockchains are framed and how the framing reflects societal contexts

Donghee Shin*, Mohammed Ibahrine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose: With the conceptualization of the blockchain as a socio-technical assemblage, this study aims to critically examine the blockchain initiatives in Korea in terms of the opportunities, risks and challenges embedded in their development. Design/methodology/approach: This paper analyzes blockchain design and development from socioecological views: social, technological and cultural phenomena that represent the strategic interaction among people, technology and society. The qualitative data were collected from a variety of sources and diverse means. Findings: The results imply that blockchain needs a close socio-technical examination to avoid simplistic assumptions of its promises and pitfalls. The development of blockchains in Korea will need to consider a range of socio-technical issues to facilitate the best outcomes for blockchain in society. Research limitations/implications: Despite proactive drives, new risks, such as security, privacy and transparency, emerge as critical concerns of the social implications of the blockchain and their impact on the new digital environment. Questions are raised as to how to govern blockchains, and how to address the unexpected outcomes that such a policy choice may have on society and industry. Originality/value: The sociopolitical implications of Korean blockchains are examined to identify key concerns and issues as the country progresses rapidly toward a blockchain-driven society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-263
Number of pages19
JournalDigital Policy, Regulation and Governance
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 19 2020


  • Blockchain
  • Korea
  • Social blockchain
  • Sociotechnical assemblages
  • Sociotechnical blockchain
  • Sociotechnical perspective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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