An Economic Analysis of Blockchains

28 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2018

Date Written: February 15, 2018


The blockchain is a technology that goes beyond timestamping, bitcoin and secure financial transactions. The development of an ecosystem around smart connected objects will probably not happen without the blockchain (in one form or another). The blockchain opens the door to the liquification of the physical world, to the economy of real-time micro-transactions and to smart data sharing. However, it is necessary to distinguish between the different types of blockchains, especially between public and private blockchains, because their economic properties are contrasted. Moreover, governance issues in public blockchains seem to indicate that the technology alone cannot guarantee trust.

Keywords: blockchain, bitcoin, ether, security, payment, governance, trust, oracles, forks, hash, smart contracts, tokens, smart locks, technology diffusion, crypto-currency, financial privacy

JEL Classification: E510, G340, H410, L140, L520

Suggested Citation

Waelbroeck, Patrick, An Economic Analysis of Blockchains (February 15, 2018). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6893. Available at SSRN:

Patrick Waelbroeck (Contact Author)

Telecom ParisTech ( email )

46 rue Barrault
F-75634 Paris, Cedex 13

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