The Blockchain (R)evolution and the Role of Antitrust
11 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2018 Last revised: 29 Jul 2019
Date Written: September 28, 2018
Blockchain is a technology that enables a secure, transparent, distributed, permanent, robust ledger that can be used to transact and record transactions over the internet. This article explores the role that antitrust can play in the blockchain environment. It examines the antitrust issues that may arise in the phase of development of blockchain projects, especially by joint ventures and consortia involved in R&D and standardisation projects. It them looks at problems that may arise when blockchains are fully operational, discussing whether denial of access to a private blockchain can be anti-competitive and, if so, in what circumstances and whether blockchain can facilitate collusion or even cartel-like behaviour. The role of antitrust is to ensure that the process of development and adoption of this new technology and its applications are driven by market forces and competition on the merits and not by restrictive behaviour aimed at excluding efficient undertakings from the competitive process. It is also to ensure that the new technology is not used to anticompetitive ends by enabling or facilitating collusive conduct or allowing individual firms to preserve or strengthen their market power to the detriment of competitors and consumers and, ultimately, of the society as a whole. To this end, classic antitrust analysis must itself evolve and develop a stronger focus on dynamic competition, market effects, and efficiencies than has traditionally been the case, especially in the European Union.
Keywords: Antitrust, Blockchain
JEL Classification: K21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation