Overview of Blockchain Technology Diffusion and Adoption: Theoretical Analysis Based on IDT Theory

Overview of Blockchain Technology Diffusion and Adoption: Theoretical Analysis Based on IDT Theory

Ennajeh Leila
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7455-6.ch003
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The main focus of the chapter is to study the diffusion of blockchain technology. Under the theoretical framework of innovation diffusion theory (IDT) analyses were conducted with the aim to localize blockchain technology in the adoption decision process and in the adoption curve. Thus, innovators and adopters of blockchain in different economic activities such as finance and banking, manufacturing, healthcare, education, and agriculture were presented. The purpose is to identify what economic sectors are reaping benefits from blockchain technology and what sectors are yet far away from its adoption. Furthermore, advantages of blockchain technology were also addressed because they are able to influence and accelerate its adoption. Insights are particularly relevant for future adopters and policy makers to enhance emergent technology adoption and reach economic benefits in the digitalization era.
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Blockchain technology is one of the most important innovations of this century. It is considered as the most relevant innovation after the Internet. It is becoming an increasingly hot topic of interest for different domains and multidisciplinary fields (Jraisat et al, 2022; Ennajeh, 2021; Attaran, 2020).

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that has disrupted the global economy with the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. This disruptive technology has a significant impact in our daily lives in the 21st century. It has the potential to transform the current Internet from “The Internet of Information Sharing” to “The Internet of Value Exchange” (Ullah et al., 2021). It can solve a variety of challenges in a modern manufacturing environment. Blockchain technology is expected to revolutionize the operating modes of commerce, industry, and education, as well as to promote the rapid development of knowledge-based economy on a global scale. Blockchain is considered a key part of the 4th industrial revolution (Ullah et al., 2021; Chen et al, 2018; Javaid et al., 2021).

Blockchain is a database that stores transaction-based records, continually recording all completed transactions in a block of data. More importantly, database systems, known as chains within a network of linked peer-to-peer nodes, are usually called digital ledgers in business (Jraisat et al., 2022). Blockchain technology is used in many fields because of its distributed database nature and the prospect of audit trails (Ullah et al., 2021). Due to its immutability, transparency, and trustworthiness for all transactions executed in a Blockchain network, this innovative technology has many potential applications (Chen et al, 2018). Initially, Blockchain has been largely used for cryptocurrency and financial transactions. In the last couple of years, the upsurge in Blockchain technology has obliged scholars and specialists to scrutinize new ways to apply Blockchain technology with a wide range of domains. The dramatic increase in Blockchain technology has provided many new applications opportunities ranging from healthcare, finance and banking, governance, supply chain, energy etc (Yadav and Singh, 2019; Seyednima et al, 2019). Furthermore, other industries, including entertainment and manufacturing are adopting Blockchain technology to leverage its benefits of enhanced security as well as privacy (Attaran, 2020).

Actually, demand for Blockchain applications is rapidly growing in various industries (Javaid et al., 2021). Recent statistics published by Ruby (2023) find that the compound annual growth of Blockchain industry is about 56.3%. There are over 170 million Blockchain wallets worldwide. Many IT and digital experts suggest that Blockchain will reshape every industry in the future. This is also endorsed by renowned and reliable firms such as Gartner, PwC, Wintergreen, and IDC. They predicted that the Blockchain market would reach USD 176 billion to USD 3.1 trillion between 2025 and 2030 (Malik et al, 2021).

The evolution of Blockchain technology in term of adoption rate and applications development stimulates questions to understand its diffusion and adoption for many stakeholders: Blockchain technology providers, actual and future adopters, decision makers and researchers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Adoption Curve: Adoption curve is a graphic S curve that schematizes the emplacement of adopters regarding to their adoption status’ evolution on time.

Economic Sectors: Economic sectors are grouping of similar economic activities that are implicated in the adoption of blockchain technology. In the present chapter, the following economic sectors where studied: finance, industry and manufacturing, healthcare, education, and agriculture.

Blockchain Technology: Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology or simply a technological protocol that allows data to be exchanged freely by individual network participants without the intermediaries of third parties.

Adoption Decision Process: The adoption decision process is the process of an innovation that will be finally adopted by individuals or organizations. It is composed of five stages: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation.

Adopters: Adopters are individuals or organizations that are currently or potentially users of an innovation. Rogers (1995) defined five adopters’ categories regarding to the time taken to be implicated in the adoption process: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.

Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT): The innovation diffusion theory IDT proposed by Rogers (1995) is one of the most used models to analyze the process of communicating any innovation through a system' members. It focuses on the diffusion of an innovation through a social system on time. It defines five adopters’ categories, five stages of the adoption decision process and five adoption factors.

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