Blockchain Disruption and Smart Contracts

51 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2017 Last revised: 31 May 2018

Lin William Cong

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Zhiguo He

University of Chicago - Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 22, 2018

Abstract

Blockchain technology provides decentralized consensus and potentially enlarges the contracting space using smart contracts with tamper-proofness and algorithmic executions. Meanwhile, generating decentralized consensus entails distributing information which necessarily alters the informational environment. We analyze how decentralization affects consensus effectiveness, and how the quintessential features of blockchain reshape industrial organization and the landscape of competition. Smart contracts can mitigate informational asymmetry and improve welfare and consumer surplus through enhanced entry and competition, yet the irreducible distribution of information during consensus generation may encourage greater collusion. In general, blockchains can sustain market equilibria with a wider range of economic outcomes. We further discuss anti-trust policy implications targeted to blockchain applications, such as separating consensus record-keepers from users.

Keywords: Anti-trust, Cryptocurrency, Competition, Decentralization, Distributed Ledger, FinTech, Incomplete Contracts, Collusion, Information, Repeated Games.

Suggested Citation

Cong, Lin William and He, Zhiguo, Blockchain Disruption and Smart Contracts (May 22, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2985764 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2985764

Lin Cong (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Zhiguo He

University of Chicago - Finance ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.zhiguohe.com

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