More (or Less) Economic Limits of the Blockchain
15 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2019
Date Written: December 2, 2019
This paper extends the block-chain sustainability framework of Budish (2018) to consider proof of stake (in addition to proof of work) consensus mechanisms and permissioned (where the number of nodes are fixed) networks. It is demonstrated that an economically sustainable network will involve the same cost regardless of whether it is proof of work or proof of stake although in the latter the cost will take the form of illiquid financial resources. In addition, it is shown that regulating the number of nodes (as in a permissioned network) does not lead to additional cost savings that cannot otherwise be achieved via a setting of block rewards in a permissionless (i.e., free entry) network. This suggests that permissioned networks will not be able to economize on costs relative to permissionless networks.
Keywords: blockchain, proof of work, proof of stake, permissionless, bitcoin
JEL Classification: D10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation