An Investigation of the Theory of Disruptive Innovation: Does the Cryptocurrency Bitcoin Have the Potential to be a Disruptive Innovation Relative to an Existing Market?
McDougall, M. (2014). An Investigation of the Theory of Disruptive Innovation: Does the Cryptocurrency Bitcoin Have the Potential to be a Disruptive Innovation Relative to an Existing Market? (MSc Business Information Technology Dissertation). Edinburgh Napier University (Smith, C.,
Christensen’s theory of Disruptive Innovation is hugely popular and has been studied in relation to a variety of different subject areas. One area that has never been investigated relative to the theory is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. This dissertation seeks to investigate Disruptive Innovation theory using Bitcoin as a case study example, thus relating the two previously distinct areas. It will provide a comprehensive review of the existing academic literature about the theory of Disruptive Innovation. It will was provide a literature review about Bitcoin using academic literature and reliable online resources. The secondary data obtained from the two literature reviews will then be used to produce a primary data collection tool of a consumer survey. The survey will evaluate consumers’ awareness of and attitude towards Bitcoin, its adoption and future success. By investigating consumers’ attitude towards a series of potential barriers to the widespread adoption of Bitcoin, as well as a number of benefits and risks of using Bitcoin, this study will provide an indication of Bitcoin’s potential to disrupt an existing market – that of payment processors such as Visa and PayPal. Through analysis of the secondary data obtained from the literature reviews and primary data from the survey responses, it was found that Bitcoin displays the characteristics of both Low End and New Market Disruptive Innovations. Furthermore, Bitcoin does indeed have the potential to disrupt the payment processor market and the organisations operating within the industry. A number of areas of potential further research are also presented.