Blockchain technology, popularized by Bitcoin cryptocurrency, is characterized as an open-source, decentralized, distributed database for storing transaction information. Rather than relying on centralized intermediaries (e.g., banks) this technology allows two parties to transact directly using duplicate, linked ledgers called blockchains. This makes transactions considerably more transparent than those provided by centralized systems. As a result, transactions are executed without relying on explicit trust [of a third party], but on the distributed trust based on the consensus of the network (i.e., other blockchain users). Applying this technology to improve supply chain transparency has many possibilities. Every product has a long and storied history. However, much of this history is presently obscured. Often, when negative practices are exposed, they quickly escalate to scandalous, and financially crippling proportions. There are many recent examples, such as the exposure of child labor upstream in the manufacturing process and the unethical use of rainforest resources. Blockchain may bring supply chain transparency to a new level, but presently academic and managerial adoption of blockchain technologies is limited by our understanding. To address this issue, this research uses the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) and the concept of technology innovation adoption as a foundational framework for supply chain traceability. A conceptual model is developed and the research culminates with supply chain implications of blockchain that are inspired by theory and literature review.
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