Decentralization, Blockchains, and the Development of Smart Communities in Economically Challenging Environments


  • Brett Bourbon University of Dallas
  • Renita Murimi University of Dallas



blockchain, smart city, smart community, challenging environments, centralization and decentralization


Current implementations of blockchain technologies for smart cities assume environments with ample socio-technical resources. In this paper, we analyze four particular cases to show how blockchains can be used to create smart communities within under-developed and resource-poor environments. In these contexts, blockchains were critical in developing and maintaining trust within the community while meeting specific social needs. Our analysis of these specific cases was then used to derive a definition of a “smart community”. We provide a schematic outline of the foundational elements for the development of smart communities using blockchain technology. The goal of our paper is to show that blockchains hold promise not just for building smart cities in resource-rich contexts, but also for building smart communities in resource-impoverished contexts using a bottom-up, problem-driven approach.

Author Biography

Brett Bourbon, University of Dallas

Brett Bourbon received his Ph.D. from Harvard, where he studied 20th century literature and philosophy. He was a professor at Stanford, and is now a professor at the University of Dallas. He has also been a strategy and leadership consultant. He has published man essays and three books, including Finding a Replacement for the Soul: meaning and mind in literature and philosophy (Harvard UP, 2004), and most recently Jane Austen And the Ethics of Life (Routledge Press, 2022). He works in multiple areas of philosophy and technology. He is currently writing with Renita Murimi a book entitled The Kingdom of Gossip—The Internet and Contemporary Social Dynamics, which is under contract with CRC.


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How to Cite

Bourbon, B., & Murimi, R. (2024). Decentralization, Blockchains, and the Development of Smart Communities in Economically Challenging Environments. Ledger, 9.



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