Tribal Governance: The Business of Blockchain Authentication

Gianluca Miscione, Rafael Ziolkowski, Liudmila Zavolokina, Gerhard Schwabe

Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), 2018


The blockchain technology offers a novel mode of distributed authentication, which does not depend on a central authority. We consider this novelty against established governance modes. We illustrate our argument by paying special attention to blockchain-based authentication functions in the empirical domain of land registries across the world. Based on interviews with representatives from organizations deploying blockchain, and content analysis of related grey literature, we discuss established governance ideal types against what the rivalry that cryptocurrencies and blockchains bring to digital settings. After referring to market, hierarchy, network, and bazaar, we conclude outlining the prospects of a different, blockchain-related governance mode called ‘tribal’ that better captures the ‘togetherness’ which rivalry originates.