Following a systematic literature review methodology, we focus on answering the following questions pertaining to smart cities and blockchain: (i) what was the reason that blockchain was proposed as the chosen solution? (ii) What blockchain-based applications are being proposed for smart cities? Based on 45 peer-reviewed academic studies all published in journals that met predefined search criteria, we find that the desire for high security, privacy, and trust are the reasons most cited for the use of blockchain for smart cities. Further, we discuss smart cities’ blockchain applications from the literature using a taxonomy framework. We conclude, highlighting the current blockchain challenges and future research opportunities, the skills that are needed to implement blockchain for smart cities and the need to change the current mindset of centralized control and trusted third parties to a more participative engagement model across smart cities.