Ostrom Amongst the Machines: Blockchain as a Knowledge Commons

Cosmos + Taxis 10: 3+4

32 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2019 Last revised: 22 Feb 2022

See all articles by Herminio Bodon

Herminio Bodon

University of Pittsburgh

Pedro Bustamante

University of Pittsburgh - School of Information Sciences, Students

Marcela Gomez

University of Pittsburgh - School of Information Sciences

Prashabnt Krishnamurthy

University of Pittsburgh

Michael J. Madison

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

Ilia Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh

Tymofiy Mylovanov

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Martin B. H. Weiss

University of Pittsburgh - School of Computing and Information

Date Written: June 20, 2019

Abstract

Blockchains improve on previous ledgers on several margins, including transparency, immutability, and openness. Though cryptocurrency tokens such as Bitcoin and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are now part of the popular lexicon, institutional analysis of blockchains is just beginning to blossom. We add to the burgeoning institutional analysis of blockchains and their governance by considering novel insights from Hayekian and Ostromian perspectives on blockchain governance. We contend that concept of taxis is especially useful to describe the origins of any individual blockchain and that the concept of spontaneous order is uniquely suited to analyze the competitive features of blockchains. A novel insight is that blockchains may arise without government design, but they are centralized entities. Ostromian analysis is especially useful to characterize blockchains as knowledge commons and to provide an empirical method to analyze how rules internal to and external to blockchains combine to explain the performance of any individual blockchain network.

Keywords: blockchain, knowledge commons, blockchain governance

JEL Classification: B52

Suggested Citation

Bodon, Herminio and Bustamante, Pedro and Gomez, Marcela and Krishnamurthy, Prashabnt and Madison, Michael J. and Murtazashvili, Ilia and Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick and Mylovanov, Tymofiy and Weiss, Martin B. H., Ostrom Amongst the Machines: Blockchain as a Knowledge Commons (June 20, 2019). Cosmos + Taxis 10: 3+4 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3462648 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3462648

Herminio Bodon

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Pedro Bustamante

University of Pittsburgh - School of Information Sciences, Students ( email )

United States

Marcela Gomez (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Information Sciences ( email )

United States

Prashabnt Krishnamurthy

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Michael J. Madison

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-7855 (Phone)
412-648-2648 (Fax)

Ilia Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15260-0001
United States

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh

Tymofiy Mylovanov

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4901 Wesley Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh
United States

Martin B. H. Weiss

University of Pittsburgh - School of Computing and Information ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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