The Public Blockchain Ecosystem: An Empirical Analysis

37 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2020 Last revised: 14 Oct 2020

See all articles by Felix Irresberger

Felix Irresberger

Durham University

Kose John

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Fahad Saleh

Wake Forest University - Schools of Business

Date Written: September 27, 2020

Abstract

This paper provides an empirical overview of the largely unexplored public blockchain ecosystem. Our overview highlights that only a few blockchains dominate the ecosystem although no single blockchain, not even Bitcoin, dominates uniformly. We explain our empirical findings with a simple theoretical framework that establishes three key economic attributes - scale, security, and adoption - as the determinants of blockchain user utility. We examine each blockchain along those dimensions empirically. We then establish that whether a blockchain could be welfare enhancing for some user profile can be determined by a comparison across our attributes. Applying that comparison yields that only a few blockchains could be welfare enhancing. Our results thus explain why only a few blockchains dominate the broader blockchain ecosystem and further provide an empirical framework from which to evaluate progress within the blockchain ecosystem.

Keywords: Blockchain, Cryptoasset, Cryptocurrency, Scale, Security, Adoption, Proof-of-Work, Proof-of-Stake, Delegated Proof-of-Stake, Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, Ripple, TRON

JEL Classification: C0, G0, O3

Suggested Citation

Irresberger, Felix and John, Kose and Saleh, Fahad, The Public Blockchain Ecosystem: An Empirical Analysis (September 27, 2020). NYU Stern School of Business, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3592849 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3592849

Felix Irresberger (Contact Author)

Durham University ( email )

Old Elvet
Mill Hill Lane
Durham, Durham DH1 3HP
United Kingdom

Kose John

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance ( email )

Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States
212-998-0337 (Phone)
212-995-4233 (Fax)

Fahad Saleh

Wake Forest University - Schools of Business

P.O. Box 7659
Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7285
United States

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