The early bird catches the worm: The role of regulatory uncertainty in early adoption of blockchain’s cryptocurrency by fintech ventures

Arjan J. Frederiks*, Sílvia Costa, Boudewijn Hulst, Aard J. Groen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Regulatory uncertainty about a technology confronts new technology-based firms (NTBFs) with questions of whether or not to adopt this technology. Following institutional theory, NTBFs are expected not to adopt a technology until regulatory uncertainty has been reduced. However, following the resource-based view, NTBFs are expected to adopt the technology under regulatory uncertainty due to limited or no regulation, as this provides them with an opportunity to secure competitive resources. We investigate whether regulatory uncertainty enabled or inhibited 108 fintech ventures in adopting blockchain’s core application, cryptocurrency, in a time when governments were still considering potential regulation. Our findings indicate that regulatory uncertainty has a positive effect on NTBFs’ adoption of technology. We extend our knowledge on the role of regulatory uncertainty in technology adoption and we shed light on the boundary conditions of both the resource-based view and institutional theory. Further, we reflect on regulating the “winds of change.”.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Small Business Management
Publication statusPublished - 15-Jul-2022


  • blockchain technology
  • Cryptocurrency
  • entrepreneurship
  • regulatory uncertainty
  • technology adoption

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