Blockchain for the Circular Economy: Analysis of the Research-Practice Gap

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Extant research claims that the circular economy concept has enormous potential to overcome downsides of status quo economic activities and to contribute to sustainable development, but that the concept also faces challenges in realizing its potential. Blockchain technology has been suggested as one possible critical solution to overcome the current barriers of implementing the circular economy concept. This article addresses the nascent research field of blockchain for a circular economy and examines current developments, from both research and practice. By developing and conducting a research-practice gap analysis using a systematic literature review, this article identifies patterns of interests and opportunities for research and practice and uncovers mutual blind spots that need to be addressed in either sphere. A systematic literature review and qualitative analysis covering 57 diverse documents (journal articles, contents linked from twitter, and google results) revealed three key findings: 1) a clear terminology of blockchain types, their technical properties and benefits are lacking in research, 2) trust and verification are major potential benefits but a challenge to create, and 3) a closer examination of possible benefits and challenges of blockchain technologies for the circular economy with its links to sustainable development is crucial.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSustainable Production and Consumption
Volume25
Pages (from-to)525-539
Number of pages15
ISSN2352-5509
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2021