Handbook of the Sharing Economy
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Handbook of the Sharing Economy

Edited by Russell W. Belk, Giana M. Eckhardt and Fleura Bardhi

With the radical growth in the ubiquity of digital platforms, the sharing economy is here to stay. This Handbook explores the nature and direction of the sharing economy, interrogating its key dynamics and evolution over the past decade and critiquing its effect on society.
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Chapter 23: Leveraging trust on sharing economy platforms: reputation systems, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies

Mareike Möhlmann, Timm Teubner and Antje Graul


In this chapter, the authors outline the historical evolution of trust and discuss how, for most of human history, trust and reputation have shaped personal relationships. They shed light on today’s sharing economy platforms’ activities in designing and operating reputation systems to leverage digital trust between peers. They further explore opportunities and challenges to foster trust based on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in the sharing economy, and analyze the public discourse in the Reddit community addressing these technological advances. They conclude that the advantages of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies may offer several promising avenues for many sharing economy platforms, as they may allow for improvements regarding the decentralization of control. However, sharing economy platforms must leverage the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies with great care, and be aware of the challenges and downsides that these technologies may bring.

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