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The Interaction of Virtual Reality, Blockchain, and 5G New Radio: Disrupting Business and Society

  • Georgia State University(GSU); Mississippi State University(MSU)

Abstract and Figures

The three cutting-edge technologies virtual reality, blockchain, and 5G have increasingly attracted public attention. While virtual reality became a popular concept in the 1990s, recent technological advances and decreased costs have created a resurgence in the technology. With significant funding and early adoption, blockchain and 5G have begun to make their mark on the world. Each technology alone may disrupt business and society, but, together, they provide multiple opportunities. In this paper, we summarize a 2018 Association for Information Systems Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS) panel session with IS researchers and industry practitioners that tackled important topics related to these technologies. In particular, the panel made the case for IS research that focuses on topics that emerge when these technologies intersect. Each panelist presented their perspectives based on their experience and knowledge along with current issues and future directions. This topic has significant business implications as practitioners continue to note their advancements and develop strategies to adapt in a rapidly changing environment. The topic also has implications for future research as these technologies continue to become more prevalent.
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Communications of the Association for Information Systems Communications of the Association for Information Systems
Volume 46 Article 25
The Interaction of Virtual Reality, Blockchain, and 5G New Radio: The Interaction of Virtual Reality, Blockchain, and 5G New Radio:
Disrupting Business and Society Disrupting Business and Society
Aaron M. French
University of New Mexico
Marten Risius
University of Queensland
J. P. Shim
Georgia State University
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French, A. M., Risius, M., & Shim, J. (2020). The Interaction of Virtual Reality, Blockchain, and 5G New
Radio: Disrupting Business and Society. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 46,
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ommunications of the
ssociation for nformation ystems
Panel Report DOI: 10.17705/1CAIS.04625 ISSN: 1529-3181
Volume 46 Paper 25 pp. 603 – 618 May 2020
The Interaction of Virtual Reality, Blockchain, and 5G
New Radio: Disrupting Business and Society
Aaron M. French
University of New Mexico
Marten Risius
University of Queensland
J. P. Shim
Georgia State University
The three cutting-edge technologies virtual reality, blockchain, and 5G have increasingly attracted public attention.
While virtual reality became a popular concept in the 1990s, recent technological advances and decreased costs have
created a resurgence in the technology. With significant funding and early adoption, blockchain and 5G have begun to
make their mark on the world. Each technology alone may disrupt business and society, but, together, they provide
multiple opportunities. In this paper, we summarize a 2018 Association for Information Systems Americas Conference
on Information Systems (AMCIS) panel session with IS researchers and industry practitioners that tackled important
topics related to these technologies. In particular, the panel made the case for IS research that focuses on topics that
emerge when these technologies intersect. Each panelist presented their perspectives based on their experience and
knowledge along with current issues and future directions. This topic has significant business implications as
practitioners continue to note their advancements and develop strategies to adapt in a rapidly changing environment.
The topic also has implications for future research as these technologies continue to become more prevalent.
Keywords: Blockchain, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Extended Reality, 5G New Radio (NR),
Societal Issues, Disruptive Technology.
This manuscript underwent editorial review. It was received 04/10/2019 and was with the authors for 5 months for 3 revisions.
Christoph Peters served as Associate Editor.
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1 Introduction
Rapid technical advances in virtual reality (VR), blockchain, and 5G technologies each provide disruptive
power that affects industry and society, but, through technology integration, their impacts grow
exponentially. These technologies can fuel each other’s growth and potential while simultaneously
creating impacts across economic and social boundaries. We shed light on these technologies to move
public knowledge beyond the prevalent buzzword status and critically discuss their joint potential through
technological integration. VR gained popularity in the late 1990s as the ubiquitous nomenclature to
describe synthetic environments and augmented reality (Mills & Noyes, 1999). This technology galvanized
researcher interest and stimulated numerous publications that evaluated VR’s theoretical underpinnings
ranging from gaming (Piekarski & Thomas, 2002) to medical training (Seymour et al., 2002). While VR
demonstrated tremendous potential for organizations, universities, and individuals, few could adopt it at
full scale due to high investment costs, low supply of technical expertise, and lack of mobility. However,
various other technological advancements (e.g., affordable computing power, improved screen resolution,
VR content platforms such as “Unity”) have helped overcome these limitations. The current revival in VR
interest may disrupt both business and society alike. However, when integrated with other emerging
technologies, such as blockchain and 5G, these technologies gain capabilities that span beyond what
anyone once theorized.
Blockchain and 5G NR are innovative technologies that complement each other and provide a foundation
for new opportunities and advancements. These technologies individually have significant disruptive
power, but, together, they provide multiple opportunities. Blockchain provides a platform that encapsulates
independent nodes that store transactions on a distributed public ledger for increased data transparency
and accuracy. Blockchain allows users to create a peer-to-peer network that cuts out the middle man and
puts the power in their hands. With increased network speeds that 5G networks will bring, bandwidth and
mobility limitations will be a thing of the past. Together, these technologies together will result provide
ubiquitous access to information and services that connect everything and everybody. With cheaper VR
hardware, advanced tools for development, and open source communities, VR may have a significant
impact on society that will exponentially grow through its integration with blockchain and 5G.
1.1 The Panel
Following the theme for AMCIS 2018 (“digital disruption”), a panel of industry and academic experts on
VR, blockchain, and 5G technology discussed the disruptive potential on industry and society through
their integration. In this paper, we summarize that discussion. In recent history, several technologies have
made revolutionary impacts on society such as the Internet in the 1990s, social networking in the 2000s,
and smartphones and smart technologies in the 2010s. VR, blockchain, and 5G represent the next
technologies that may soon make their mark on business and society (Shim et al., 2017). The panel
addressed these topics through two discussion rounds. In the first round, the panelists introduced and
summarized the technologies and benefits of technological integration. In the second round, the panelists
discussed VR’s, blockchain’s, and 5G’s impacts and disruptive potential, their integration, and their
organizational and societal impacts. The panel concluded with a question and answer (Q&A) session with
the audience and insights from the panel members on research implications and future recommendations.
1.2 Panel Report Organization
We format this panel report according to the panel discussion that took place. Thus, in Section 2, we
summarize the discussion on disruptive technologies. In Section 3, we highlight their potential through
technological integration. In Section 4, we describe these technologies’ disruptive power, their societal
effects, and regulation and compliances issues. Finally, in Section 5, we discuss research implications
and recommendations.
2 Overview of Disruptive Innovations
In this section, we summarize blockchain, 5G, and VR to provide background information about their
current status, capabilities, and potential. We use this background as a foundation for the following
sections in which we describe how they complement one another and, thus, how their integration turns
them into disruptive technologies for business and society.
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2.1 Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
While researchers and practitioners have discussed and theorized VR over the past several decades, new
advances in the technology and its widespread adoption have renewed interest in it and warrant new
discussions. VR constitutes one of the most pervasive extended realities (XR), a relatively new umbrella
term that refers to the full spectrum of VR, AR, mixed reality (MR), and 360-degree video (Scribani, 2019).
VR artificially creates a three-dimensional digital egocentric environment that fully immerses its users. It
typically comprises several different technical components, such as visual and aural systems, manual
control objects, a central coordinating processing and software system, and some input device that can
capture users’ movement (Bidgoli, 2017). VR’s fully immersive digital nature distinguishes it from related
XR technologies such as AR or mixed reality that superimpose computer-generated images on or merge
them into, respectively, a user’s view of the world (Intel, 2018). Originally, one created VRs through
stationary displays such as a cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE), a cube-shaped room with walls
that served as holographic rear-projection screens (Cruz-Neira, Sandin, & DeFanti, 1993). Today, VR
commonly uses head-mounted displays that range in complexity from simple viewers with a smartphone
dock (e.g., Google Cardboard) to more complex discrete devices that interface with personal computers
and gaming consoles (e.g., Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, or Sony’s PlayStation VR) (Intel,
2018). Augmented reality adds digital elements to a live view by using a smartphone’s or device’s camera.
Typical AR examples include the Skully Technologies motorcycle helmet or games such as Pokemon Go.
VR applications have various promising fields such as virtual prototyping, architectural walkthroughs, data
visualization, training and education, entertainment, virtual collaborations and meetings, and medical or
therapeutic measures (Craig, Sherman, & Will, 2009). Walmart, Boeing, UPS, and other Fortune 500
companies currently use VR as a training tool (Morris, 2018). While VR inspires great hope and
demonstrates substantial potential, current pitfalls limit its general applicability: it can easily create a sense
of motion sickness for untrained and even experienced users, VR devices’ weight and poor air-
conditioning restricts long-term usage, and the devices do not suit many locations because they shield
users away from their immediate environment. However, considering the great investments that
organizations have made in VR technologies (Merel, 2018), we expect that they will overcome these
limitations. As network speeds increase and new infrastructures (e.g., blockchain and 5G) provide
additional capabilities, VR’s capabilities will expand beyond stationary use adding mobility with ubiquitous
access to VR environments. VR will become as pervasive as mobile phones, which will require new
research from both design science and behavior science perspectives.
2.2 Blockchain
A blockchain refers to a distributed database that stores transactions in cryptographically linked blocks,
which creates an immutable ledger (Glaser, 2017). By enabling automated, immediate, and verifiable
transactions between peers, blockchain technologies constitute the backbone of the transition from the
collaborative Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 (also referred to as the “Internet of value”) (The Economist, 2018). We
commonly distinguish three blockchain archetypes that can serve different purposes (see Figure 1): public
blockchains (open source blockchains that anyone can use or develop), private blockchains (blockchains
that an approved entity develops and controls), and consortium blockchains (blockchains that various
entities—typically similar or partnering companies—own and use to create transparency for all
participating members). R3 Bank exemplifies a consortium blockchain that contains a global network of
partners that create innovative apps to support finance and commerce. Like former discussions about
social media’s worth (Kane, Palmer, Phillips, & Kiron, 2014), industry and academia have begun to assess
blockchain technologies’ value (Avital, Beck, King, Rossi, & Teigland, 2016).
In this regard, blockchain technologies offer considerable benefits compared to established databases or
intermediary systems. Most prominently, one cannot easily or cheaply manipulate blockchains, which
explains why many refer to them as immutable logs (Xu et al., 2017). In a public blockchain, for example,
every node stores the entire blockchain, which not only provides access to all recent transactions but also
keeps an entire history of all the transactions that have been completed and stored on the database at
any time in history (Xu et al., 2017). Depending on the context, blockchain systems also have increased
transparency since all nodes have read access to the database (Glaser, 2017). Further, smart contracts
enable parties to manage transactions automatically. Since parties can immediately exchange assets and
verify their legitimacy through a blockchain, they can save time through swift consensus (Christidis &
Devetsikiotis, 2016; Raskin, 2016; Zhang & Wen, 2015). Lastly, by enabling validated peer-to-peer
transactions, blockchain technologies can replace traditional intermediaries and, thereby, help reduce
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associated overhead costs (Risius & Spohrer, 2017). Thus, blockchain technologies offer considerable
benefits to the economy and society.
Public Blockchain
(Bitcoin, Ethereum)
Private Blockchain
(Ripple, Hyperledger)
Consortium Blockchain
(R3 Bank, EWF Energy)
Figure 1. Types of Blockchains
However, despite the various benefits that blockchain technology offers, it also has several drawbacks
that one must consider when deploying a blockchain system. The most prominent downside concerns
limited scalability. Beck, Stenum Czepluch, Lollike, and Malone (2016) argue that scalability issues, costs,
and volatility in the transaction currency can constrain widespread adoption and utilization throughout the
economy. Privacy can also be a concern in public blockchain applications since they can create legal
uncertainty related to privacy. While nodes in a blockchain have asymmetrically encrypted identities, de-
anonymization attacks have shown that one can analyze transaction patterns to identify nodes
(Meiklejohn et al., 2013; Ron & Shamir, 2013). At the same time, we lack reliable know-your-customer
solutions that abide by legal regulations while preserving blockchain’s potential for privacy protection and
decentralization. In order to integrate blockchain with other systems, we require standards that also
determine, for example, liability (Risius & Spohrer, 2017).
2.3 5G New Radio (NR)
According to several recent global mobile industry reports, such as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project
(3GPP), the 5G wireless standard is 100 times faster than the 4G LTE standard currently available. As
Figure 2 shows, 3GPP Release-15 (Rel-15) establishes a solid foundation for 5G NR, especially for
enhanced mobile broadband and beyond. 5G New Radio (NR) evolves the OFDM of 4G into a flexible and
scalable waveform framework. It is well known from 4G that multicarrier OFDM is advantageous
compared to single carrier modulation for throughput (GSMA, 2018; Smee, 2018; Shim et al., 2020).
eMBB, URLLC, and mMTC are three generic services with heterogeneous requirements that 5G network
slicing supports.
5G speeds and low latencies (i.e., 5G mobile sysetms, mobile terminal device with MIMO antenna array
multi gigabit downlink speeds and latencies as low as 1 millisecond) are essential to meet the increasing
connectivity requirements. These connectivity requirements include aspects such as virtual reality,
augmented reality, extended reality, autonomous vehicles, and drones. With increased network speeds
from 5G mobile systems, VR/AR will be able to expand beyond stationary systems into ubiquitous mobile
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Figure 2. 3GPP Rel-15 Establishes a Solid Foundation for 5G NR (Smee, 2018)
3 Technological Integration of Disruptive Technologies
Blockchain, 5G, and VR remain at different development and deployment stages. While virtual reality has
decades of research and development behind it, blockchain remains in its infancy, and 5G NR has
entered preparation for its launch. Even so, these technologies offer complementary benefits through
blockchain’s backend applications, 5G NR’s network speeds, and VR’s front-end applications. Figure 3
depicts how we conceptualize how these technologies converge, which opens up potential use cases that
we discuss throughout this section. VR has overcome its previous price limitations but still lacks the
mobility to reach its full potential. Integration with 5G’s high speed networks will overcome this barrier and
provide the network needed to provide viable VR solutions in a ubiquitous environment(see Section 3.2).
Integrating VR with the blockchain has created opportunities to develop novel applications and test
mechanisms to integrate blockchain into businesses (see Section 3.1). Blockchain technologies can
support 5G NR’s operation and, thus, provide the infrastructure to disrupt business and society (see
Section 3.2).
Figure 3. 5G, VR, and Blockchain Technological Integration to Disrupt Business and Society
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3.1 Virtual Reality & Blockchain
Practitioners and researchers, such as Glaser (2017), have often considered blockchain an innovative
technology that requires use cases. Recently, a novel area of blockchain development focused on VR
applications has grown rapidly. While these projects mostly remain under development, they have already
raised a considerable amount of funds and attracted remarkable user numbers (Wood, 2018). For
example, Decentraland, a VR platform comparable to Second Life with a limited number of lots that
currently sell between US$15k and US$200k USD, manages property rights through a blockchain ledger.
Miners process transactions for pixels rather than cryptocurrencies that they can terraform to create new
land for sale. In Decentraland, users connect using VR devices to not only participate in the network but
also become fully immersed in the virtual environment. Decentraland represents the first virtual world that
connects VR to blockchain technology using Ethereum. This project has currently raised US$75 million in
market capitalization and attracted approximately 18,000 users. Other projects include online augmented
and virtual reality market places such as VibeHub ($34m, 3,800 users) and Cappasity ($10m, 6,700
users) who offer online events or 3D content in exchange for crypto tokens. Moreover, by managing
content through the blockchain, Cappasity prevents copyright infringements through illegal redistribution
since one can uniquely identify all objects. Similarly, Matryx ($10m, 2,400 users) provides a platform to
post a 3D design or simulation problem with a bounty. Users can provide a solution to problems to earn
the bounty. If users decide to collaborate in the process, the will receive the bounty according to their
individual contributions, which the blockchain stores (Wood, 2018). These examples just illustrate some
ways in which blockchain technologies support virtual reality.
Admittedly, these use cases in entertainment and e-commerce do not necessarily indicate entirely novel
use cases that would not have been possible without blockchain technologies. Rather, we can deduce
that VR offers a sandbox environment to test blockchain solutions’ real-world implications. Thereby, we
can practically explore difficulties in and solutions of blockchain applications with regards to identification
systems, payment channels, trust interface points, intellectual rights management, and industry standards.
Looking at blockchain-based VR applications will help move research beyond its current conceptual and
descriptive state by providing prescriptive findings and best practices (Zhao, Fan, & Yan, 2016).
Regarding identity systems, most current online transactions (e.g., PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Wallet)
require users to disclose some personal information, which certain parties can misuse with severe
consequences (e.g., see the Equifax hack). VR platforms such as Decentraland will help explore the
viability of decentralized identity checks or transactions with encrypted digital identities (Pinto, 2018).
Virtual reality market places such as VibeHub also enable feasibility assessments of blockchain-based
payment channels in a trust-free economy and to determine the extent to which this concept holds up.
Virtual asset exchanges for crypto tokens create a purely blockchain-based economic environment. Here,
we can experience the practicability of blockchain technologies in an Internet of value that manages digital
transactions and identifies potential weaknesses. Other marketplaces such as Cappasity offer the
opportunity to test how one can integrate blockchain technologies into established legacy systems. Users
can transfer the purchased or rented objects to their websites, which will also show blockchain’s capability
of managing intellectual rights and recognizing potential flaws. Lastly, VR platforms will help developers to
determine industry standards. Industry standards that evaluate liability issues and intellectual property
rights will be necessary in an economy that offers global blockchain-based transfer and storage of digital
assets. The intersection of VR and blockchain offers a sandbox environment to explore these issues.
Overall, while blockchain technologies may offer considerable advantages (i.e., immutability,
transparency, and cost and time savings), they also present some currently unresolved challenges (i.e.,
privacy, scalability, integration, and regulation). Most research currently covers conceptual and descriptive
topics (Risius & Spohrer, 2017; Zhao et al., 2016). The introduction of VR on blockchain can provide
blockchain-based communities that serve as use cases for exploring the feasibility of blockchain-based
economies in real-world settings (i.e., identity systems, payment channels, interface points of trust, and
intellectual rights management) and provide the foundation to adapt digital rights legislation.
3.2 Expanding the Capabilities with 5G NR
In regard to expanding 5G NR to millimeter wave (mmWave) frequency bands standardization, 3GPP
agreed to divide the Rel 15 specification into two phases: non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA).
The NSA specification, which 3GPP approved in December, 2017, utilize the existing LTE backbone
combined with 5GNR radios to boost capacity for end users (Cartenberg, 2018). However, initial
deployments will not likely meet the International Telecommunication Union’s exact specifications. Early
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trial runs used a competing specification that some operators have picked up, but operators around the
world have not adopted it as a standard. Despite not meeting specifications, scheduled 5G
implementations remain on schedule with companies releasing the first 5G-compatible smartphones in
2019. Technologies such as VR and blockchain require the speeds and bandwidth that 5G offers. Figure 4
outlines the timeline for 5G deployment across three phases that comprise 5G architecture
implementation and projected use cases utilizing 5G networks (Kornelis, 2019; McGarry, 2019). Experts
predicts the first 5G technology applications to revolve around VR and the Internet of things (IoT) due to
decreased technology costs and continued improvements in mobility (McGarry, 2019).
Figure 4. 5G Timeline and Use Cases (Kornelis, 2019; McGarry, 2019)
VR and blockchain can gain several advantages with 5G technology’s release. For instance, VR worlds
such as Decentraland can create immersive VR environments accessible through mobile devices. Using
two-layer protocols on a high speed 5G network could help blockchain overcome some scalability issues
that currently limit its capabilities. Being able to conduct instant transactions via blockchain using a mobile
device could benefit many industries ranging from supply chains to e-commerce and auctions. Users can
easily validate items’ authenticity when they purchase them through blockchain tokenization. Marketing
companies can expand the “reach” and “range” (Housel and Skopec, 2001) of their customers by using
VR applications via mobile devices. Users no longer need to visit a store or use a personal computer with
wired systems to access virtual environments.
VR and blockchain technology can also enhance entertainment. By having their own mobile device with
VR capabilities and headphones, individual family members can go to the movies together and each
watch the movie they want rather than compromising on a movie that everybody agrees with. Theaters
would just need to provide comfortable lounges, refreshments, and use blockchain to verify purchases
and record transactions. Blockchain and mobile devices would also benefit data analytics. Currently,
organizations can analyze big data based on interactions with their customers. Many data analytics tools
require high-speed processors that can handles massive amounts of data. With blockchain, data analytics
can span beyond a single company and provide information about purchases across several industries
and activities. The blockchain would contain transactions that link purchases for dinner, entertainment,
and activities and could expand market-basket analysis beyond similar items that customers purchased
together to related activities that they may enjoy. High-speed 5G networks would provide the speed and
capabilities that organizations would need to perform analytics in the field, which would give mobility to
their marketing teams and managers.
3.3 Industry Initiatives
The New Orleans-based company Juncture Strategies exemplifies a company that creates new and
innovative solutions with the help of technological advances in virtual reality. Juncture Strategies focuses
on the customer experience and how VR can provide new experiences for customers related to events,
real estate, products, and technology. One of its clients, Max Home, sought new ways to engage
attendees and demonstrate new products. Through virtual reality, the company learnt to provide users
with immersive experiences for various products and services at home shows. Further, in collaboration
with local Fox8 news in New Orleans, Juncture Strategies innovatively covered the Mardi Gras with 360
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video to provide viewers with an engaging experience if they could not attend the event live. The company
also partnered with Tulane’s School of Social Work to assist students who could not travel for recruiting
visits. Through virtual experiences, the two organizations captured the campus experience at Tulane for
potential students to assist in the recruitment process.
While Juncture Strategies has begun using technology to engage and enhance the customer experience,
the company recognizes the potential blockchain and 5G to further increase opportunities in this area. VR
has mobility limitations due to the bandwidth it requires. With increased network speeds from 5G, users
can ubiquitously access VR through mobile devices. With the emergence of blockchain technology and its
integration in the VR industry, decentralized platforms with immutable ledgers will provide access and
security to empower users to engage and interact through peer-to-peer networks. While companies such
as Decentraland work on providing VR worlds via blockchain, Juncture Strategies and other VR
companies have the opportunity to use these networks to enhance the customer experience and provide
ubiquitous access to various products or services.
4 Societal Disruption and Compliance Issues
Virtual reality, blockchain, and 5G all represent revolutionary technologies that may disrupt all industries
and dramatically change the world. While many tout VR as a novelty, it also provides the tools and
capabilities to help healthcare workers treat several disorders such as social anxiety and addiction.
Blockchain provides a public platform that empowers users through peer-to-peer transactions, but it can
also expand the reach and range of many companies that provide a secure and reliable network. 5G will
only fuel this growth by ensuring that large-scale applications have the necessary connectivity and
bandwidth. In this section, we discuss how virtual reality, blockchain, and 5G may disrupt industry and
society in more detail.
4.1 Digital and Economic Disruption
When technology becomes pervasive, it creates entry barriers that disrupt new entrants in the market and
eliminates competitors that do not adapt. We expect VR, blockchain, and 5G to have this type of impact
on various industries such as social networks, financial institutions, supply chain management, gaming,
health, and more. Based on the use cases that we describe above, one can see how VR could impact the
social networking industry, particularly when 5G networks are available. With users continually creating
and using digital content such as images and videos, VR will add additional capabilities for users to
become fully immersed in the digital content they create. VR and 5G have the capabilities to reshape
digital interactions and, thus, completely change the landscape of social networking environments.
Blockchain and 5G technology will also likely drastically disrupt supply chain management. For instance,
several companies have begun exploring whether they can use blockchain to capture transactions along
the supply chain. With blockchain’s immutable ledgers and auditing capabilities, one will be able to track
every individual product from the original source to the customer. Automobile organizations will be able to
target specific automobiles when they initiate recalls, which will save time and money. Grocery and food
organizations will be able to identify specific farms that products come from. They will be able to identify
what specific farms bad products come from rather than discarding all products to prevent an outbreak. By
integrating the supply chain using blockchain with 5G technology, organizations gain the capability to
monitor these networks in real time. In these examples, organizations that do not conform to the new
technologies will be at a technological disadvantage, which could affect their ability to compete in the
market. Gaming companies have already begun looking into adding VR experiences to their games (e.g.,
Fortnite) for their users. VR gaming is becoming more than just a technology but rather a social
phenomenon that is causing the entire gaming industry to react and meet users’ needs. The tourism and
travel industry will also likely see disruption as VR provides users with real-life experiences without having
to actually physically travel. While VR will not replace the real-life experiences one obtains from traveling,
it does serve as a tool that allows individuals to explore what they will experience when traveling. Several
travel agencies have already begun adding VR components to their websites, and, as the technology
improves, the experiences they can provide will become more enticing, which will create a try-before-you-
buy scenario and cause companies that do not integrate VR to fall behind. Logistics companies such as
FedEx and UPS have also reportedly begun working on blockchain solutions to improve delivery times
and customer service, save costs from lost packages, and reduce inefficient delivery schedules. 5G will
further disrupt society through smart cities and the Internet of things (IoT) as the latter expands to become
Internet of everything (IoE). Further, autonomous vehicles that use 5G networks will impact any industry
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that relies on transportation (i.e., logics, shipping, taxi, travel, etc.). Standard phone and texting services
will become obsolete as voice over IP (VoIP) becomes more prevalent with higher-quality communications
due to increased speed and bandwidth. 5G will create real-time ubiquitous communication and
connectivity from a global perspective, which will allow people to remotely access services that range from
entertainment to healthcare.
The integration of these technologies provides capabilities that can significantly disrupt economic markets
and financial industries. With blockchain initial coin offerings (ICO), startups have begun to raise money
and create new investment options outside traditional markets that involve stocks and exchanges.
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have yet to see widespread adoption as an actual currency, but they
have much promise. With global usage, no exchange rate fees, and lower transaction fees, many banks
have begun to realize the threat that cryptocurrencies pose to their markets and to evaluate options to
either join the crypto market or find other ways to compete. Companies such as Facebook and Amazon
have explored payment methods using their own cryptocurrencies that could significantly reduce costs
and replace credit cards or other traditional forms of payment. 5G also provides the foundation for
organizations and users around the world to make mobile payments using cryptocurrencies, which will
further disrupt the economy. As such, governments have begun to create regulations, financial institutes
have begun to new innovations in financial technology, and major corporations have begun to evaluate
cryptocurrency options. Blockchain has already disrupted various industries and markets without even
seeing full-scale adoption.
4.2 Societal Effects
While one can measure societal affects at the macro level, VR, blockchain, and 5G also have significant
micro-level impacts. Healthcare practitioners have used VR to treat individuals with a wide array of
conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (Thai & Nathan-Roberts, 2018), anxiety disorders (Maples-
Keller, Bunnell, Kim, & Rothbaum, 2017), rehabilitation (Howard, 2017), and substance additions
(Bordnick et al., 2008). In 2014, an estimated 22.5 million Americans self-reported needing treatment for
substance abuse, and 9.8 million suffered from serious mental illness (Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration, 2018). With 1 in 59 children having autism spectrum disorder (CDC, 2018)
and over 9.9 percent of Americans suffering from substance abuse or mental health, the potential for VR
as a treatment could have significant societal effects. Researchers in the social sciences have studied
whether one can use VR to help treat various disorders for decades, but the recent advances in
technology have converted the theoretical findings from behavioral science into reality with real-life
implementations beginning to take place. Several treatment centers have implemented VR into their
rehabilitation programs to treat various disorders using real-life simulations.
With VR, healthcare practitioners can treat and condition patients in real-life situations where they most
likely need the skills to avert relapse and recall their training. For example, in traditional alcoholism
treatments, individuals attended a clinical environment with others in which they refrained from drinking
and discussed their experiences. In doing so, they could attend a safe environment to discuss their
addiction without the temptation to relapse. They receive the training recommended to fight the addiction
once they leave the clinic. However, many people face challenges when put in an environment where
alcohol is readily available. Leaving the controlled environment where they learned their training and being
exposed to environments where others are consuming alcohol increases the chance of relapse. Through
VR, a person can progress through clinical training in a virtual environment that simulates real-life
situations where a relapse would occur. Through this type of training, they can learn the skills necessary
to fight the addiction in a representative environment that can help them easily recall the skills they
learned once they leave the clinic. Such training could also benefit children with autism spectrum disorder
by introducing them to a virtual classroom or playground and teaching them the social skills they need in a
safe setting. As a result, the children could more easily repeat the lessons and recall the skills learned in
actual settings with other children.
The challenges in implementing VR environments to help treat these various disorders involve cost and
expertise (e.g., programmers). Various clinics around the world have experimented with VR treatment but
lack the connectivity and collaboration required to continually advance this area. Here, blockchain and 5G
provide additional benefits. A public or consortium blockchain can connect all the people required to
develop and implement VR from programmers to end users. Each clinic would not need to create every
VR environment to treat each patient as all involved clinics on the blockchain can develop and share
resources among them. A treatment center in California could easily adopt a virtual environment
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developed at another center around the world to treat a specialized condition or addiction with ease.
Clinics and sponsors could perform audits to ensure that patients complete the required modules
necessary for treating their problem. 5G could expand these results to a ubiquitous environment where
patients can retrieve treatment from anywhere without the need to physically attend a clinic with a doctor.
Blockchain can ensure patient privacy and ubiquitous access, which would mean one could contact a
therapist as easily as one can get an Uber.
4.3 Regulation and Compliance Issues
Despite the benefits, integrating VR, blockchain, and 5G raises concerns about regulatory adoption
requirements. Currently, different countries regulate blockchain economies differently. Thus, for example,
China completely bans ICOs, South Korea strictly regulates the crypto-investments from foreigners, and
the US has implemented broader financial regulation for cryptocurrencies. At the same time, different
states vary in what they allow one to use blockchain for, such as keeping real estate records. Researchers
have shown these uncertain and constantly evolving regulatory systems to inhibit blockchain adoption and
investments (Guadamuz & Marsden, 2015; Kiviat, 2015). These different issues provide the basis for
blockchain skeptics’ concerns.
Privacy issues represent another concern, and recent updates to the European General Data Protection
Regulation (GDPR) introduced new compliance issues that organizations must address with these
emerging technologies. With digital technology spanning across borders, the GDPR focuses on personal
data in digital contexts (Krystlik, 2017). In the United States, each state has begun to or already added its
own legislature that addresses privacy issues related to digital technology. For instance, organizations
must comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which came into effect on 1 January,
2020. Seven additional states have pending comprehensive privacy legislation (Dorsey & Whitney LLP,
2019). With VR, blockchain, and 5G reaching global scales, we face monumental challenges to address
privacy compliance laws at various levels (e.g., state, country, and global).
5 Research Opportunities and Conclusion
In this section, we outline some ways in which future research can accommodate and explore VR,
blockchain, and 5G.
5.1 Research Opportunities
Researchers have many opportunities to evaluate VR, blockchain, and 5G as both standalone and
integrated technologies. Based on the panel discussion that took place, panelists offered various research
recommendations to help researchers and practitioners grow and develop these technologies and
integrate them. In Table 1, we summarize these recommendations. Subsequently, we describe specific
opportunities to help fuel and grow this exciting area.
Table 1. Research Opportunities
Enabling technology
irtual reality (VR)
Eye-tracking usability studies
Psychological effects
Usability studies
Blockchain (BC)
Scalability solutions
Cryptocurrency volatility
Feasibility studies
5G wireless telecom (5G)
Big data growth and implications
Capabilities and opportunities
Societal effects
Synergy effects
VR and BC
Digitized economies
Intellectual rights management
Virtual identities
BC and 5G
Layer 2 protocol BC system
Design science research
Extended privacy and security
5G and VR/AR
New visualizations
Travel and tourism
Virtual experiences
VR and BC and 5G
Ubiquitous digital environments
Universal mental health care
Digital laws and regulations
Since the panel primarily focused on evaluating how these technologies interact and their disruptive
power, we only briefly discuss research recommendations as standalone technologies and focus more on
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opportunities that reside in digital integration. With VR technologies growing in popularity and use, we
recommend that researchers use new data-collection methods such as eye-tracking software to evaluate
how users interact in virtual environments. Since VR may produce psychological effects from long-term
use, behavioral studies could evaluate potential pitfalls due to long-term exposure and immersion in virtual
environments. Usability studies for VR could focus on the technology itself or as integrated with any
number of other technologies. While numerous use cases highlight blockchain technology’s potential, we
still need to resolve scalability and volatility issues that prevent the technology from reaching its full
potential. Researchers should conduct feasibility studies to evaluate if blockchain suits companies’ needs
and if it represents a viable solution from a resource, technical, and economic perspective. While 5G
technology provides a network that supports a multitude of other technologies, researchers should
evaluate the capabilities and opportunities that these high-speed networks provide, what implications
data’s growth may have, and how it may affect society as a whole.
We have already seen immersive communities due to the integration between VR and blockchain, such
as Decentraland. The integration of blockchain and VR provides new opportunities for research in
digitized economies as virtual environments contain products and payment methods. In the VR
environment, intellectual property rights could become a bigger issue as parties produce and sell digital
products across the blockchain. While blockchain provides an immutable ledger for validating authenticity,
pirated digitals goods or other inappropriate digital content could still spread across the blockchain.
Extended research should evaluate user behaviors in these environments and ways in which the platform
can properly manage intellectual property to protect content creators. Virtual identity also warrants
significant research. While participants on a blockchain use a pseudonym, methods that can identify them
do exist. This point holds true for virtual environments as well. How users interact through immersive
environments where they are anonymous could have significant implications on their behaviors and
interactions with others. Furthermore, with user pseudonyms linked to blockchain accounts, one could
possibly identify participants. The potential benefits and pitfalls of blockchain environments provide many
opportunities for behavioral studies such as adoption and use, social interactions, social capital, and
numerous psychological studies.
5G and blockchain integration provides numerous other research opportunities, particularly in the design
science arena. IS researchers should explore, for example, the feasibility of a layer 2 protocol blockchain
system based on a 5G infrastructure to address scalability concerns. Subsequently, research should
assess the effects of layer 2 solutions related to security, scalability, and decentralized features. With
increased speeds from 5G, the types of applications that one can develop and implement will grow
exponentially. Design science research has unlimited possibilities to research and develop new
applications that use these integrated infrastructure technologies. The migration to 5G wireless
telecommunications also provides new opportunities for its integration with VR. Relying on the bandwidth
from 5G, VR can provide new approaches to data visualization. Analytics research could benefit from
using design science approaches to create new visualizations that immerse users in data and interact with
the visualizations through a virtual environment that they could access via mobile devices. This type of
immersion could extend to various industries as increased bandwidth makes virtual environments more
accessible. For example, the travel and tourism industry could provide customers sample tours where
they can try a vacation package before they buy it. Further, individuals could experience living in a house
before they buy it, people entertainment before purchasing tickets, or the thrills of a theme park before
attending it. As a result, a two-stage adoption process could emerge wherein individuals consider
adopting products, services, or technology and then participate in a VR user experience, which would
influence their ultimate adoption decision.
When integrated together, 5G, blockchain, and VR could produce even more capabilities. For example,
one could extend digitized economies created through VR and blockchain can to a global scale. Users
would have the opportunity to participate in the digital environment any time through their mobile
device(s). Research should evaluate the implications of a continuously connected subversive digital
environment and the implications it would have on individuals and societies. Habitual use and technology
addiction could require particular attention since users could potentially become so ingrained in the
technology that they spend more time immersed in the technology than they do in the real world. While
immersion could have potential pitfalls, it also has many potential benefits. The ability to provide metal
healthcare on a global scale could have significant societal impacts. Given that much research on using
VR to treat mental and psychological disorders already exists, researchers could extend it to include
blockchain for knowledge sharing and 5G for ubiquitous access. Individuals in rural areas who suffer from
autism spectrum disorders, addictions, or any number of other psychological effects could gain access to
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treatments they would otherwise not have the opportunity to access. Research should continue to
evaluate the effects of VR treatments and how blockchain and 5G could propel them further. The final
implications the panelists discussed concern privacy and security, such as digital laws, regulations, and
compliance issues. The technologies individually and together present various concerns. As organizations
collect more data due to increased integration, the more privacy and security become a concern. Existing
privacy and security research should evaluate the new types of data that the technologies generate alone
and together to identify vulnerabilities, concerns, and resolutions to address these issues. Since these
technologies have the potential to see use on a global scale, digital laws and regulations across borders
poses an issue that businesses will face. IS research has a significant opportunity to address these issues
and inform business as these technologies continue to grow and organizations pursue new endeavors.
5.2 Closing Remarks
In this paper, we report on a panel discussion at the 2018 AMCIS on the technological advances in VR,
blockchain, and 5G technology and their impacts on business and society. This timely and informative
panel discussion offers first-hand practices and insightful perspectives. We strongly believe that research
on VR, blockchain, and 5G NR technology represents an imminent and challenging task. However,
through continued engagement and knowledge dissemination such as these panels, we hope that we can
form new ideas to help guide innovative and new research in the future.
We gratefully acknowledge the panel audience for their helpful comments and valuable discussion at
AMCIS 2018 Blockchain/VR/5G panel session. We also acknowledge Dr. Patrick Bordnick of Tulane
University and David Holtman of Juncture Strategies who served as panelists.
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About the Authors
Aaron M. French is an Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems in the College of
Business at the University of New Mexico. He received his PhD in Business Information Systems at
Mississippi State University. Dr. French is active in software development and the evaluation emerging
technologies. His research has been published in the Journal of Information Technology, Information &
Management, Decision Support Systems, Behaviour & Information Technology, Journal of Computer
Information Systems, Communications of the Association for Information Systems, and Pacific Asian
Journal of the Association of Information Systems. His research interests include social networking, cross-
cultural studies and emerging technologies.
Marten Risius is a Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems at the University of Queensland. His
research interests are in the areas of social media management with a focus on social media analytics
and blockchain technology. His articles have been published in several conference proceedings and
journals such as Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Journal of Information Technology, Information
& Management, MISQ Executive, Business & Information Systems Engineering, the International
Conference of Information Systems, the European Conference on Information Systems, the Hawaii
International Conference on System Sciences, the Americas Conference on Information Systems, and the
Pacific Asian Conference on Information Systems.
J.P. Shim is CIS faculty and Executive Director of Korean-American Business Center at Georgia State
University. He is adjunct professor (dual appointment) at Georgia Tech School of Public Policy. He is
Professor Emeritus and was professor, Notable Scholar, John Grisham faculty at Mississippi State
University. He has published books and 100 refereed articles, including Communications of the ACM,
Journal of AIS, Journal of Strategic Information Systems, IEEE IT Professional, Journal of Information
Technology, European Journal of Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, Omega, CAIS, I&M,
Computers & Operations Research, Human Relations, Journal of the Operational Research Society, AoM
Proceedings, ICIS Proceedings. He was AMCIS Program Co-chair, Wireless Telecommunication
Symposium Program Chair. He received grants from National Science Foundation, US SBA, US DoED,
Microsoft, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Japan Foundation.
Copyright © 2020 by the Association for Information Systems. Permission to make digital or hard copies of
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the first page. Copyright for components of this work owned by others than the Association for Information
Systems must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on
servers, or to redistribute to lists requires prior specific permission and/or fee. Request permission to
publish from: AIS Administrative Office, P.O. Box 2712 Atlanta, GA, 30301-2712 Attn: Reprints or via e-
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... Modern displays are evolving, and one of them is the virtual display, which is also a potent representation of the mindset and innovation of the time. The virtual display simulates actual scenes using computers, allowing viewers to be stimulated on the visual-based sensory system through natural human-computer interaction techniques that fit their own cognitive and behavioral habits, produce a fun interactive experience, and accept display information communicated by display design [4][5][6][7]. ...
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... IS researchers have a particular role to play in studying the Metaverse. Recent studies indicate potential research avenues by referring to organization studies , human-computer interaction (Augenstein & Morschheuser, 2022;Smith & Molka-Danielsen, 2023), the affordance perspective (Bao et al., 2022;Dincelli & Yayla, 2022), or blockchain (French et al., 2020;Lacity, 2022). While we have considered these references and earlier IS research, Table 3 presents a structured and overview over research directions, focusing particularly on major discourses that (Chandra et al., 2012;Nevo et al., 2012;Srivastava & Chandra, 2018) -Organizational use cases for VWs (Berente et al., 2011;Boughzala et al., 2012;Chandra et al., 2012;Goh & Wasko, 2012;Schultze & Orlikowski, 2010) -Uptake of collaboration technologies in organizations (Bajwa et al., 2005;Brown et al., 2010;Richter & Riemer, 2013) Which organizational adoption patterns will characterize the uptake of the Metaverse? ...
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The Metaverse has become a buzz-phrase among tech businesses. Facebook's rebranding to Meta is symptomatic of this. Many firms and other actors are trying to shape visions of the Metaverse, leading to confusion about the term's meaning. We use social construction of technology (SCOT) theory to disentangle the conflicting notions proposing that what the Metaverse is and will become relies on the collective sensemaking processes. We point out similarities and differences between various concepts presented in the public media and link them to individual actors' monetary, political, or social motives. We describe the tensions that occur because of the conflicting interests. As the Metaverse is an emerging phenomenon, opportunities exist to reorient it toward humanist values rather than singular interests. However, the complexity of the social processes that shape the Metaverse requires a considerate approach rather than premature conclusions about the Metaverse's characteristics. The analysis presents the Metaverse as a new, continually evolving sociotechnical phenomenon, and calls for research that explores it as a dynamic, moving target.
... Lastly, the parallel developments in technologies powering augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and their increasing adoption (French et al., 2020) open the possibility of moving toward a world of synthetic reality that combines the potential of deepfake technology with AR/VR. In a world of immersive synthetic reality, entire replicas of real-life individuals may be portrayed to feel part of a natural environment and even transported to places that never existed before (Pasquarelli, 2019). ...
... Graduates of automotive majors are usually out of school and into the workplace. Only by paying attention to practical teaching and improving students' hands-on ability can the automotive profession bridge the school and society [1][2][3][4][5]. ...
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Education informatization is getting more popular, smart learning spaces are gaining popularity, and students' demands for personalized, convenient, and diverse learning content are becoming more apparent. This study focuses on exploring the design of automotive professional training room management system with 5G technology. On the basis of sorting out the main features of education informatization, it analyzes the technical challenges faced by the design of automotive professional training room management system, starts from three aspects of teaching, teaching and research, and education management, argues and proposes the corresponding 5G automotive professional training room management application scenarios, and forms a general view of 5G education informatization. It will continue to enhance the connotation of educational scenarios, stimulate educational scenario change, and become the primary driving force of innovation in automotive professional education informatization.
This paper profiled blockchain studies in information systems (IS) journals from 2016 to 2022. Drawing on the 443 selected articles from 77 IS journals, we proposed a classification scheme from the IS perspective. Current blockchain articles are highly skewed, focusing on research agendas and system design. We proposed a theoretical framework by summarizing the current status of the blockchain literature and highlighting 15 future research questions for the IS research community. We are optimistic that the proposed framework and future research questions can guide blockchain research and advance its scale and impact.
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Augmented and Mixed Reality (AR/MR) technologies enhance the human perception of the world by combining virtual and real environments. With the increase of mobile devices and the advent of 5G, this technology has the potential to become part of people’s life. This article aims to evaluate the impact of 5G and beyond mobile networks in the future of AR/MR. To attend to this objective, we surveyed four digital libraries to identify articles and reviews concerning AR/MR use based on mobile networks. The results describe the state-of-the-art of mobile AR/MR applications and the benefits and challenges of the technology. Finally, after the review, we propose a roadmap concerning AR/MR hardware and software development to run applications supported by future mobile networks.
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The 21st century marks the Fourth Industrial Revolution and describes a shift in the industrial paradigm that changes social, economic, and political environments simultaneously. Innovative technologies such as Blockchain, artificial intelligence, and advanced mobile networks are fueling this digital revolution. Blockchain technology, for example, has the potential to provide the infrastructure for digital, biological, and physical elements to converge in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Artificial intelligence is another innovation that will drive the 4IR. Artificial intelligence algorithms can facilitate and automate complex decision-making processes with their potential for rapid analysis of different types and quantities of data. Future research needs to identify potential uses for Blockchain. In addition, we need to look at how Blockchain technologies can help protect users' data privacy to make AI artificial algorithms ethical. Finally, AI can support Blockchain technologies by analyzing larger and more complex input patterns. It can also start smart contracts automatically, making smart contracts really smart. Blockchain and 5G technology can also complement each other in different industries and methods. These technologies provide unique concepts that, when integrated, form the basis for future innovation. In this article, we examine these technologies and how they integrate, as well as new innovations and mutual support in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
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Living beyond the hype, the Internet of things (IoT) continues to grow and has clearly emerged as a leading-edge topic in information systems. As the IoT moves beyond novel technologies and exploratory sandbox initiatives to ubiquitous technologies and full production, understanding the phenomenon surrounding IoT challenges and issues has become even more important. In this paper, we explore the critical issues and challenges currently facing IoT adoption and implementation in order to identify areas that require further study. Specifically, we discuss IoT from several key perspectives including IoT connectivity, platforms and 5G, IoT analytics, IoT privacy, security, and litigation risks, IoT business value and monetization, and human interaction with IoT and design considerations. Finally, through identifying the current state of IoT and IoT research, we identify potential areas of contribution and future directions for IoT research.
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While blockchain technology is commonly considered potentially disruptive in various regards, there is a lack of understanding where and how blockchain technology is effectively applicable and where it has mentionable practical effects. This issue has given rise to critical voices that judge the technology as over-hyped. Against this backdrop, this study adapts an established research framework to structure the insights of the current body of research on blockchain technology, outline the present research scope as well as disregarded topics, and sketch out multidisciplinary research approaches. The framework differentiates three groups of activities (design and features, measurement and value, management and organization) at four levels of analysis (users and society, intermediaries, platforms, firms and industry). The review shows that research has predominantly focused on technological questions of design and features, while neglecting application, value creation, and governance. In order to foster substantial blockchain research that addresses meaningful questions, this study identifies several avenues for future studies. Given the breadth of open questions, it shows where research can benefit from multidisciplinary collaborations and presents data sources as starting points for empirical investigations.
Conference Paper
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Blockchain is an emerging technology for decentralised and transactional data sharing across a large network of untrusted participants. It enables new forms of distributed software architectures, where agreement on shared states can be established without trusting a central integration point. A major difficulty for architects designing applications based on blockchain is that the technology has many configurations and variants. Since blockchains are at an early stage, there is little product data or reliable technology evaluation available to compare different blockchains. In this paper, we propose how to classify and compare blockchains and blockchain-based systems to assist with the design and assessment of their impact on software architectures. Our taxonomy captures major architectural characteristics of blockchains and the impact of their principal design decisions. This taxonomy is intended to help with important architectural considerations about the performance and quality attributes of blockchain-based systems.
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Motivated by the recent explosion of interest around blockchains, we examine whether they make a good fit for the Internet of Things (IoT) sector. Blockchains allow us to have a distributed peer-to-peer network where non-trusting members can interact with each other without a trusted intermediary, in a verifiable manner. We review how this mechanism works and also look into smart contracts-scripts that reside on the blockchain that allow for the automation of multi-step processes. We then move into the IoT domain, and describe how a blockchain-IoT combination: 1) facilitates the sharing of services and resources leading to the creation of a marketplace of services between devices and 2) allows us to automate in a cryptographically verifiable manner several existing, time-consuming workflows. We also point out certain issues that should be considered before the deployment of a blockchain network in an IoT setting: from transactional privacy to the expected value of the digitized assets traded on the network. Wherever applicable, we identify solutions and workarounds. Our conclusion is that the blockchain-IoT combination is powerful and can cause significant transformations across several industries, paving the way for new business models and novel, distributed applications.
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Recently, the Bitcoin-underlying blockchain technology gained prominence as a solution that offers the realization of distributed trust-free systems, where economic transactions are guaranteed by the underlying blockchain. We are still at an early stage and thus require a deeper understanding of how the blockchain potentials can be realized, and what are the opportunities and challenges in so doing. Following a design science approach, we developed a proof of concept prototype that has the potential to replace a trust-based coffee shop payment solution that is based on an analogue, prepaid punch card solution. The demonstrator provides a starting point to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the blockchain technology when replacing a trust-based by a trust-free transaction system. We conclude that the secure and trust-free blockchain-based transaction has the potential to change many existing trust-based transaction systems, but that scalability issues, costs, and volatility in the transaction currency are hindrances.
Learning objectives After participating in this activity, learners should be better able to: Abstract Virtual reality (VR) allows users to experience a sense of presence in a computer-generated, three-dimensional environment. Sensory information is delivered through a head-mounted display and specialized interface devices. These devices track head movements so that the movements and images change in a natural way with head motion, allowing for a sense of immersion. VR, which allows for controlled delivery of sensory stimulation via the therapist, is a convenient and cost-effective treatment. This review focuses on the available literature regarding the effectiveness of incorporating VR within the treatment of various psychiatric disorders, with particular attention to exposure-based intervention for anxiety disorders. A systematic literature search was conducted in order to identify studies implementing VR-based treatment for anxiety or other psychiatric disorders. This article reviews the history of the development of VR-based technology and its use within psychiatric treatment, the empirical evidence for VR-based treatment, and the benefits for using VR for psychiatric research and treatment. It also presents recommendations for how to incorporate VR into psychiatric care and discusses future directions for VR-based treatment and clinical research.
A new technology called “smart contracts” has emerged and is designed to change the nature of legal agreements. These smart contracts are agreements where execution is made automatic through the use of computers. This article examines smart contracts from a legal perspective, both their operation and place in existing contract law. The article concludes that smart contracts are simply a new form of preemptive self-help that should not be discouraged by the legislatures or courts. While certain egregious examples of their use may need to be policed, judges and policymakers should foster a climate that treats smart contracts as another form of more traditional agreements.
The buzz surrounding Bitcoin has reached a fever pitch. Yet in academic legal discussions, disproportionate emphasis is placed on bitcoins (that is, virtual currency), and little mention is made of blockchain technology—the true innovation behind the Bitcoin protocol. Simply, blockchain technology solves an elusive networking problem by enabling “trustless” transactions: value exchanges over computer networks that can be verified, monitored, and enforced without central institutions (for example, banks). This has broad implications for how we transact over electronic networks. This Note integrates current research from leading computer scientists and cryptographers to elevate the legal community’s understanding of blockchain technology and, ultimately, to inform policymakers and practitioners as they consider different regulatory schemes. An examination of the economic properties of a blockchain-based currency suggests the technology’s true value lies in its potential to facilitate more efficient digital-asset transfers. For example, applications of special interest to the legal community include more efficient document and authorship verification, title transfers, and contract enforcement. Though a regulatory patchwork around virtual currencies has begun to form, its careful analysis reveals much uncertainty with respect to these alternative applications.