Blockchain's Struggle to Deliver Impersonal Exchange
53 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2017 Last revised: 19 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 18, 2017
The paper identifies what value blockchain adds to the contractual and property processes, exploring its potential and analyzing the main difficulties it is facing. It argues that, contrary to naive conceptions that proclaim the end of intermediaries and state involvement, blockchain applications will rely on a variety of interface, completion and enforcement specialists, including standard public interventions, especially for property transactions. Without these interventions, blockchain applications will at most enable trade in in personam claims—instead of in rem rights—, therefore facilitating personal instead of truly impersonal—that is, asset-based—transactions.
Keywords: property rights, enforcement, transaction costs, impersonal exchange, blockchain, distributed ledgers
JEL Classification: D23, K11, K12, L85, G38, H41, O17, P48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation