Identifying Influence Mechanisms in Permissionless Blockchain Communities: The Bitcoin Case

Rewat Thapa, Pankajeshwara Sharma, Joschka Andreas Hüllmann, Bastin Tony Roy Savarimuthu

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Research on Bitcoin blockchain suggests that the inner-working of Bitcoin is not decentralized. Building on such findings from previous research, this paper identifies ‘Bitcoin influencers’ who are central to the operation of Bitcoin. These influencers are identified by performing social network analysis on the mailing list conversation during the implementation and activation of two Bitcoin blockchain rule changes i.e. ‘Versionbits’ and ‘Segregated Witness’, and implementation of one Bitcoin blockchain rule ‘Taproot’. This paper further examines the activities of these Bitcoin influencers on a mailing list and IRC chat. Our findings suggest these Bitcoin influencers are steering the decisions to enact new rules for the Bitcoin blockchain. In order to do so, these influencers are using various tactics to seek support from other members and enact the Bitcoin blockchain rules. In this way, this paper argues Bitcoin influencers are guiding the operation of Bitcoin blockchain nodes, thus, governing the Bitcoin community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 42nd International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS)
Place of PublicationAustin, Texas, USA
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2021 - Austin, United States
Duration: 12 Dec 202115 Dec 2021


ConferenceInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2021
Abbreviated titleICIS
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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