Decentralised Digital Ecosystems and Competition Law: A Conceptual Framework
Posted: 21 Nov 2019 Last revised: 22 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 10, 2019
In an environment where populism has the potential to drive regulation and where daily Internet use means dealing with a very few, very big, businesses, the concept of decentralisation is attractive. We are now at a stage where technology-powered decentralisation has the potential to have sweeping effects on the economy and on personal lives. It might be even expected that decentralisation does not raise serious competition law issues.
This paper analyses digital ledger technology as a tool to implement decentralisation. It provides an overview of the current blockchain landscape. It also offers a framework of analysis by first clarifying the concept of decentralisation. It analyses decentralised ecosystems by adopting a systems perspective. In doing so, it draws the important distinction between blockchain and distributed ledger technology as centralised systems and those which actually offer decentralisation. The paper uses the broad conceptual framework that it develops to discuss a selected number of potential competition policy aspects related to blockchain ecosystems.
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