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Blockchains and the Boundaries of Self-Organized Economies: Predictions for the Future of Banking

16 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2016  

Trent John MacDonald

RMIT University, Faculty of Business, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, Students

Darcy W. E. Allen

RMIT University, Faculty of Business, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, Students

Jason Potts

RMIT University

Date Written: March 18, 2016

Abstract

This chapter uses economic theory to explore the implications of the blockchain technology on the future of banking. We apply an economic analysis of blockchains based on both new institutional economics and public choice economics. Our main focus is on the economics of why banks exist as organizations (rather than a world in which all financial transactions occurring in markets), and how banks are then impacted by technological change that affects transaction costs. Our core argument is that blockchains are more than just a new technology to be applied by banks, but rather compete with banks as organizations, enabling banking transactions to shift out of centralized hierarchical organizations and back into decentralized markets. Blockchains are a new institutional technology — because of how they affect transaction costs in financial markets — that will fundamentally re-order the governance of the production of banking services. We then explore this implication through broader political economy lens in which banking moves out of organizations and deeper into markets. We examine this as a form of institutional economic evolution in which the boundary of catallaxy — i.e., a self-organized economy — is enlarged, at the margin of the banking sector. Such institutional competition enables evolutionary discovery in the institutions of banking.

Keywords: Blockchain, Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, New Institutional Economics, Austrian Economics, Catallaxy

Suggested Citation

MacDonald, Trent John and Allen, Darcy W. E. and Potts, Jason, Blockchains and the Boundaries of Self-Organized Economies: Predictions for the Future of Banking (March 18, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2749514

Trent John MacDonald (Contact Author)

RMIT University, Faculty of Business, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, Students ( email )

Level 12, 239 Bourke Street
Melbourne, Victoria
Australia

Darcy W. E. Allen

RMIT University, Faculty of Business, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, Students ( email )

Melbourne, Victoria
Australia

Jason Potts

RMIT University ( email )

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