The Viability of Blockchain in Corporate Governance

The Viability of Blockchain in Corporate Governance

Anne Lafarre, Christoph Van Der Elst

Series number :

Serial Number: 
712/2023

Date posted :

June 19 2023

Last revised :

June 19 2023
SSRN Share

Keywords

  • Corporate governance • 
  • DLT • 
  • blockchain • 
  • DAO • 
  • corporate voting • 
  • shareholder rights • 
  • stakeholder involvement

Blockchain technology, along with distributed ledger technologies (DLT), has gained recognition as a potential game-changer in corporate governance. Proponents argue that it has the capability to enable the creation of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) that operate without hierarchical structures.

However, challenges and uncertainties persist regarding the legal status, governance structures, and liability features of DAOs. This chapter sheds light on the practical implementation and use of DAOs and shows that elements of centralization often emerge despite the goal of decentralization.

Additionally, this chapter examines the impact of blockchain technology on the governance of traditional corporations, with a specific focus on strengthening key corporate functions such as share issuance, trading, and decision-making processes. Blockchain has the potential to address custody chain issues and improve transparency in corporate securities and stock ownership records. However, transitioning from existing systems to blockchain-based solutions, as demonstrated by the ASX CHESS Replacement process, is a complex task. While blockchain shows promise in enhancing shareholder and stakeholder rights, a careful assessment of its limitations and practical considerations is necessary. Additionally, it is important to critically evaluate the necessity of blockchain technology itself in corporate governance applications, as centralized systems with secure and transparent digital record-keeping may also be viable alternatives in various cases.

Published in

Published in: 
Description: 
Forthcoming in ‘Board-Shareholder Dialogue: Best Practices, Legal Constraints and Policy Options’ (eds. L. Enriques and G. Strampelli)

Authors

Dr.
Real name:
Anne Lafarre
Tilburg University