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Rella, Ludovico



A blockchain is a distributed, time-stamped, append-only ledger of data connected with addresses, simultaneously kept on all the nodes within a decentralized network. Blockchain technologies vary depending on their openness, consensus algorithms, and use cases. Cryptoassets are one application for monetary and financial purposes, and they have expanded dramatically in number and market capitalization. In the form of Initial Coin Offerings and Token Sales, cryptoassets have had large impacts in start-up financing, competing with Venture Capital. Beyond cryptoassets, the range of use cases expanded dramatically through smart contracts, and blockchain technologies are currently used in managing identity, personal data, elections, supply chains, energy grids, property registries, and Internet of Things. Blockchain's novelty and design pose regulatory challenges about data protection, illicit uses, geographic delimitation of competent jurisdictions, and how to enforce judicial decision on ostensibly immutable ledgers. Blockchain technologies offer a fertile ground to explore issues of trust, power, identity, ownership, and value. Geographic research can unpack blockchain's potentialities and ambiguities for disintermediation and reintermediation, decentralization and control, co-production and capitalization. It can also look into the economic geographies of blockchain firms, the environmental and energetic footprint of distributed calculation.


Rella, L. (2020). Blockchain. In International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. (2nd Edition). Elsevier.

Acceptance Date Dec 4, 2019
Online Publication Date Dec 4, 2019
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Jan 17, 2020
Publisher Elsevier
Edition 2nd Edition
Book Title International Encyclopedia of Human Geography
ISBN 9780081022962