Collusion by Blockchain and Smart Contracts
Harvard Journal of Law and Technology (33 Harv. J.L. & Tech. 117)
51 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2019 Last revised: 12 Mar 2020
Date Written: January 14, 2019
Blockchain may transform transactions the same way the Internet altered the dissemination and nature of information. If that were to be the case, all relationships between companies would change, including prohibited ones such as collusive agreements. For that reason, the stakes are crucial and the absence of academic studies entirely dedicated to this issue must be remedied.
To this end, this article introduces the first taxonomy of collusion on blockchain. The discussion then moves on to explore their functioning, their robustness and their limits through the three fundamental stages of the existence of collusive agreements: their birth, life and death. The article further highlights how companies may use smart contracts and sophisticated algorithms to collude in the blockchain environment, thus contributing to the literature solely focused on algorithms.
Using empirical studies, economic analyses and existing case law, we draw legal conclusions that we extend beyond the sole blockchain technology. Along the way, we propose methods of action for antitrust and competition agencies.
Keywords: antitrust, blockchain, smart contract, algorithms, competition, collusion, cartel
JEL Classification: K21, K20, L12, L40, L41, L42, L43, L44, L51, O31, O33, O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation