The effects of security and traceability of blockchain on digital affordance

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Donghee Shin, Zayed University
Yujong Hwang, DePaul University

Document Type


Source of Publication

Online Information Review

Publication Date



© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: This study takes an affordance approach to explain how users perceive the affordance of user action within blockchain and examines how it influences the subsequent user experience. Focusing on the effect of trust on cognitive processes, the authors analyze how affordances in blockchains affect the user experience. Design/methodology/approach: The blockchain affordances are examined through a two-stage process. The authors employ a qualitative analysis based on insights gained from the current literature and interviews. The authors then apply a quantitative survey to examine the role of trust in interactions with blockchain services. A structural user model was tested in which their appreciation of affordances of blockchain predicted the trust and satisfaction. Findings: Users' appreciation for transparency and reliability explained to what extent they trust and are satisfied, thereby suggesting the heuristic roles of trust in blockchains. The study findings indicate a heuristic role for trust regarding underlying links to technological and affective affordances. A user's cognitive heuristics affect their attitudes toward blockchain, in which technological features are processed through users' perceptions and experience. Research limitations/implications: The model contributes to the conceptualization of security, privacy and traceability along with trust, which is then linked to transparency and reliability. The findings show how the frame of affordances gains explanatory power by being linked to the concepts of affect and emotion. The heuristics of direct perception of security–traceability–privacy (STP) can be used to understand the trajectory of heuristics and ongoing choices of blockchain. Practical implications: The study results offer a lens through which to address the technology's most common problems by pairing user experience principles and heuristics to blockchain technologies. This study offers insights into the understanding of user actions related to blockchains and into practical implications for developing trust-based services. The results guide the application and tailoring of motivational affordances in blockchain. Originality/value: While blockchain technology has gained popularity and momentum, there has been little research on how specific features of blockchain technology create value. This study contributes to the research gap by highlighting the role and dimension of trust in relation to STP in blockchains and provides meaningful implications for theory and practice.




Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.





First Page


Last Page



Computer Sciences


Affordance, Blockchain, Blockchain services, Heuristics, Privacy, Reliability, Security, Traceability, Trust

Scopus ID


Indexed in Scopus


Open Access