Byzantine Political Economy
12 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 28, 2019
For decades, computer science and economics have been working on the same questions in parallel. But each field has offered strikingly different answers. This paper examines the close relationship between what the study of distributed systems describes as Byzantine consensus and what the study of institutional economics describes as robust political economy. These parallels have become evident after the invention of distributed ledger technology (blockchain) via the Bitcoin cryptocurrency which provides a new technology for managing and coordinating knowledge about property rights. Blockchain is the instantiation of a new form of social infrastructure that securely decentralises property ledgers. As such it represents a shift in the role of government as a centralised property ledger.
Keywords: blockchains, byzantine generals problem, robust political economy, institutional economics
JEL Classification: A12, H11, H41, P11
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