About this Research Topic
Blockchain is regarded by many as an enabling technology for safer, transparent, and more integrated processes in many domains. It is a peer-to-peer protocol that can be leveraged to keep track of transactions over the internet. Social innovation unpacks how actors, groups, organizations can create new solutions in the form of processes, institutions, and technology that bring about changes that support livelihoods and well-being. In agriculture, blockchain technology can support social innovation by reducing transaction costs in business processes, transparently linking payments to users, and provide secure digital documentation for farmers and fisherfolk that legitimizes and empower their livelihood activities. With the impetus for blockchain-based approaches to support social innovation, there is the potential for blockchain to disrupt how existing governance arrangements mediate agricultural production. For example, new kinds of virtual “on-chain” and material “off-chain” power relations (e.g., who sets and how are rules established to regulate the technology) can emerge in the flow and management of resources.
Bringing the concept of blockchain and social innovation together provides a starting point to unpack how blockchain as an emergent and disruptive technology can be leveraged for the empowerment of agricultural users who are becoming integrated into new digital ecosystems, and the new kinds of governance logic and power structures they impress onto the physical world. In this special issue we ask the following questions:
We ask the following questions:
1. How can blockchain technology support social innovations and fair pricing through value-chains for all actors in agriculture?
2. What role can blockchain technology play to overcome institutional gaps in land and fisheries management to reduce transaction costs and directly empower small-scale agricultural users in their livelihood activities?
3. What are the regulatory and governance implication of blockchain technology in agriculture?
The goal of this special issue is to provide state-of-the-art knowledge on the potential application of blockchain technology in the agricultural sector and its role in furthering social innovation for smallholder and fisheries improvement in the global north and south.
We accept contributions to this special issue around the following themes:
Concepts: Conceptual debates on blockchain technology, distributed ledger technology, smart contracts, disintermediation of resources and their contribute to social innovation, unpacking new kinds of governance logic and power structures that can be introduced.
Empirical: Case Studies on blockchain-driven social innovation in fisheries and farming contexts.
Applications: Application-based research that demonstrates the potential, success, or failure of blockchain technology for social innovation in fisheries and farming contexts.
Keywords: blockchain, social innovation, governance, agriculture, fisheries, power, sustainable livelihoods, land tenure
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.