Blockchain technology promises to have far-reaching economic and social implications, which are not yet foreseeable to their extent. The financial services industry is particularly “ripe for disintermediation” since blockchain technology has with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies its first real-world use case. At the beginning of our research, we have conducted three exploratory interviews with persons engaged in the blockchain Department. We also have made use of the technique of “participant observation” by assisting in multiple blockchain conferences. Furthermore, we relied heavily on what is called “cyberethnography” or “netnography”. Netnography is an online research method that allows the researcher to gain insights into the virtual world of the studied group or collective.
One thing is for sure: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have entered the scene with a quite provocative and bold attitude. They’ve blamed the financial system for the crisis of 2008 (and the current economic instability) and have accused them of running a parasitic business model that allows them to earn big money without much effort. Their threat to “cut out the middlemen” was credible. Some commentators went as far as to suggest that “Bitcoin is going to do to banks what email did to the post office and Amazon did to retail.”