An Emerging Digital Ecosystem: Blockchain Competence Certification Networks

Roberta Cuel*, Francesco Virili*, Cristiano Ghiringhelli*, Francesco Bolici*

*Corresponding author

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this paper, we investigate how blockchain technologies improve the certification system and generate added value for different involved actors - learners, educational institutions, and businesses. An exploratory study is proposed to systematize the overall impacts of blockchain in the field of digital certification while focusing on university education as the main research area. We carried out a desk analysis, direct observation/focus groups and semi-structured interviews with key players of the two Italian universities which had first adopted certification and blockchain-based-certification systems. The aim is to understand the drivers and value generation conditions in the new scenario introduced by the development of DACS (Digital Academic Certification System) through insight into the relationships between actors in the ecosystem that characterize the different types of complementarities between actors and services before and after the introduction of blockchain-based platforms and the personal wallet containing titles and certifications. Three main findings arose from the study related to actors, ecosystem, and complementarities. The main theoretical contributions of this study is that it produces the first empirical evidence of the new Ecosystem Theory proposed by Jacobides et al. [1]. From the managerial perspective, this study contributes to better identify and debate the conditions and success factors unlocking value generation and benefits embedded in Digital Certification Ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExploring Innovation in a Digital World
EditorsFederica Ceci, Andrea Prencipe, Paolo Spagnoletti
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series



  • Blockchain
  • Competence certification
  • Digital ecosystems


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