From Digital to Blockchain Markets: What Role for Antitrust and Regulation

22 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2019 Last revised: 3 Mar 2019

See all articles by Giovanna Massarotto

Giovanna Massarotto

UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies (UCL CBT); University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business

Date Written: January 26, 2019


In the context of antitrust, technology is not the driver of anticompetitive conduct in digital markets, nor is punishing big companies the solution. It is most likely that markets will shift from centralized closed platforms into decentralized, open networks based on blockchain technologies. Blockchain technology built on a consensus mechanism can make intermediaries [or third parties] unnecessary. Antitrust enforcers should encourage the innovation process simply by deterring those intermediaries from engaging in anticompetitive conduct that might slow the innovation process down while providing support to those companies as they often have the best resources and knowledge to increase innovation. On the other hand, although blockchain technology presents the potential for future opportunities, it is far from being perfect; the risk of collusion, for example, is particularly high in private blockchains. Therefore, the success of blockchain relies on the trust of people in this new technology, which if not used appropriately can damage instead of benefit markets and consumers. Similar to the Internet, antitrust enforcers and regulators are essential in developing trust in blockchain and to make decentralized system of democratic markets based on blockchain technology viable.

Keywords: antitrust, blockchain, digital markets, artificial intelligence, algorithm, regulation, internet, open networks, smart contract, innovation

JEL Classification: D4, D42, K21, L5, L12, L17, L86, O31

Suggested Citation

Massarotto, Giovanna, From Digital to Blockchain Markets: What Role for Antitrust and Regulation (January 26, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Giovanna Massarotto (Contact Author)

UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies (UCL CBT) ( email )

United Kingdom

University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business ( email )

5020 Main Library
Iowa City, IA 52242-1000
United States

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