The Public Blockchain Ecosystem: An Empirical Analysis

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See all articles by Felix Irresberger

Felix Irresberger

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS)

Kose John

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Fahad Saleh

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management

Date Written: May 4, 2020

Abstract

This paper offers an organizing empirical framework to understand the largely unexplored public blockchain ecosystem. Our framework casts blockchains in terms of their key economic attributes rather than as a set of disparate objects. The framework takes inspiration from the blockchain trilemma, constructing empirical analogs for each of its three attributes: (i) scale, (ii) security, and (iii) decentralization. Our analysis uncovers an association between these attributes and blockchain consensus protocols. We establish that Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchains dominate on decentralization; Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) blockchains dominate on scale, and blockchains using non-standard protocols dominate on security.
We find that a small group of blockchains form the ecosystem's frontier, but no particular blockchain, not even Bitcoin, leads on all three attributes.

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

JEL Classification: C0, G0, O3

Suggested Citation

Irresberger, Felix and John, Kose and Saleh, Fahad, The Public Blockchain Ecosystem: An Empirical Analysis (May 4, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Felix Irresberger (Contact Author)

University of Leeds - Leeds University Business School (LUBS) ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
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

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. West
Montreal, Quebec H3A1G5 H3A 2M1
Canada

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