NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Corporate Governance and Blockchains

David Yermack

NBER Working Paper No. 21802
Issued in December 2015
NBER Program(s):   CF   LE

Blockchains represent a novel application of cryptography and information technology to age-old problems of financial record-keeping, and they may lead to far-reaching changes in corporate governance. During 2015 many major players in the financial industry began to invest in this new technology, and stock exchanges have proposed using blockchains as a new method for trading corporate equities and tracking their ownership. This essay evaluates the potential implications of these changes for managers, institutional investors, small shareholders, auditors, and other parties involved in corporate governance. The lower cost, greater liquidity, more accurate record-keeping, and transparency of ownership offered by blockchains may significantly upend the balance of power among these cohorts.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21802

 
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