Blockchains and the Economic Institutions of Capitalism

Journal of Institutional Economics, Vol. 14, Issue 4, 2017

23 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2018

See all articles by Sinclair Davidson

Sinclair Davidson

RMIT University

Primavera De Filippi

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas

Jason Potts

RMIT University

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

Blockchains are a new digital technology that combines peer-to-peer network computing and cryptography to create an immutable decentralised public ledger. When the ledger records money, a blockchain is a cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin. But ledger entries can record any data structure, including property titles, identity and certification, contracts, and so on. We argue that the economics of blockchains extend beyond analysis of a new general purpose technology and its disruptive Schumpeterian consequences to the broader idea that blockchains are an institutional technology. We consider several examples of blockchain-based economic coordination and governance. We claim that blockchains are an instance of institutional evolution.

Keywords: blockchain, capitalism, institutional economics, organization

Suggested Citation

Davidson, Sinclair and De Filippi, Primavera and Potts, Jason, Blockchains and the Economic Institutions of Capitalism (2017). Journal of Institutional Economics, Vol. 14, Issue 4, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3221527

Sinclair Davidson

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000
Australia

Primavera De Filippi (Contact Author)

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas ( email )

12 place du Pantheon
Paris cedex 06, 75231
France

Jason Potts

RMIT University ( email )

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