Internet Architecture and the Layers Principle: A Conceptual Framework for Regulating Bitcoin

Internet Policy Review, 3(3). DOI: 10.14763/2014.3.289

9 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2014 Last revised: 11 Apr 2015

See all articles by Andy Yee

Andy Yee

Visa U.S.A; University of London - School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Date Written: August 19, 2014

Abstract

Bitcoin is the first decentralised, peer-to-peer network that allows for the proof and transfer of ownership of virtual currencies without the need for a trusted third party. It has created a platform for tremendous financial innovation, but at the same time the role of traditional regulatable financial intermediaries is bypassed. The purpose of this article is to address the important policy question of how we can capture Bitcoin’s potential benefits for the economy while addressing new regulatory challenges. To do so, we first conceptualise the Bitcoin ecosystem through the layered model of internet architecture. Second, we apply the layers principle of internet governance to identify control points and guidelines for regulation that respect the integrity of the layers. Third, we conclude with the need for governments to adopt an adaptive and novel regulatory approach to ensure that society can benefit from Bitcoin’s revolutionary potential. This work forms a baseline for further understanding of the governance of Bitcoin and the various actors within the ecosystem based on the layers principle of internet architecture.

Keywords: Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Finance, Internet architecture, Internet governance

Suggested Citation

Yee, Andy, Internet Architecture and the Layers Principle: A Conceptual Framework for Regulating Bitcoin (August 19, 2014). Internet Policy Review, 3(3). DOI: 10.14763/2014.3.289. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2483964

Andy Yee (Contact Author)

Visa U.S.A ( email )

United States

University of London - School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) ( email )

Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square: College Buildings 541
London, WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

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