Some Public Economics of Blockchain Technology

11 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2018

See all articles by Chris Berg

Chris Berg

RMIT University - School of Economics, Finance and Marketing

Sinclair Davidson

RMIT University

Jason Potts

RMIT University

Date Written: March 2, 2018


Distributed ledger technology emerged in 2009 as the protocol behind bitcoin, a cryptocurrency with origins in the ‘cypherpunk’ community who sought to use cryptography to secede from government control of money. Bitcoin’s pseudonymous inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto said Bitcoin would be “very attractive to the libertarian viewpoint” and many in the crypto-anarchist community saw, and still see, cryptocurrencies as a means to free citizens from the monetary depredations of governments. But from these revolutionary secessionist origins, it has become apparent that not only are there many possible use cases of distributed ledger technology for government, but that government action through both regulation, legislation, and public investment might be a key factor in the adoption and development of this technological innovation. Governments can use blockchain technology to exploit the service efficiencies they may bring. But also, and perhaps counter-intuitively given their revolutionary origins, blockchain applications are likely to need government cooperation to facilitate adoption and the development of the blockchain economic system.

Keywords: blockchain, public economics, public choice, institutional economics, comparative economics

JEL Classification: H00, H41, H23

Suggested Citation

Berg, Chris and Davidson, Sinclair and Potts, Jason, Some Public Economics of Blockchain Technology (March 2, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Chris Berg (Contact Author)

RMIT University - School of Economics, Finance and Marketing ( email )

Level 12, 239 Bourke Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000

Sinclair Davidson

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000

Jason Potts

RMIT University ( email )

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