Antitrust Economics of Cryptocurrency Mining

28 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2021 Last revised: 8 Sep 2021

See all articles by Florian Deuflhard

Florian Deuflhard

NERA Economic Consulting

C.-Philipp Heller

NERA Economic Consulting

Date Written: September 3, 2021

Abstract

The development of blockchain-based applications, to date mostly virtual currencies, touches many areas of law and economics. The most well-known applications of public blockchains rely on Proof of Work (PoW) as a consensus mechanism in which miners compete to solve a cryptographic puzzle. We argue that economic tools for market definition may be adapted to delineate relevant cryptocurrency mining markets. Antitrust law can help to prevent network attacks and exclusion of transactions with lower fees by large miners. When multiple blockchains are part of the same market, the role of network effects in securing the leading position of more established cryptocurrencies can potentially lead to exclusionary behavior.

Keywords: Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Antitrust, Competition Law

JEL Classification: L41, L86, D47, D71

Suggested Citation

Deuflhard, Florian and Heller, C.-Philipp, Antitrust Economics of Cryptocurrency Mining (September 3, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3917012 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3917012

Florian Deuflhard

NERA Economic Consulting ( email )

Unter den Linden 14
Berlin, DE Berlin 10117
Germany

C.-Philipp Heller (Contact Author)

NERA Economic Consulting ( email )

50 Main Street, 14th Floor
White Plains, NY 10606
United States

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