The consequences of blockchain architectures for the governance of public services: a case study of the movement of excise goods under duty exemptions

D. Allessie, M. Janssen, J. Ubacht, S. Cunningham, G. van der Harst

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Blockchain technology has the potential to provide public services directly to the public. This challenges the need for public organizations, who traditionally provided these services. Much of the current work is focused on the technology, whereas the influence on public administration structure has gained less attention. The goal of this paper is to investigate the impact of blockchain technology on the governance of public service provision. For this, we performed a case study of an EU-wide system that monitors the movement of excise goods under duty suspension. We developed two scenarios for blockchain technology’s use based on a permissionless blockchain architecture on the one hand and a permissioned one on the other. The scenarios were evaluated based on their impact on transaction validation, data quality and governance. The findings show that blockchain technology alone cannot be an alternative for the current data quality controls, equal access assurances and adaptations to legislation conducted by public administrations. As such, governments will remain playing a key role in registration of documents and assets, however, the governance will likely change depending on the type of blockchain architecture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInformation Polity
Early online date8 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Nov 2019



  • public services
  • case study
  • E-government
  • transaction cost
  • public choice
  • transformation
  • blockchain

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