Blockchain Platform Design

32 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2021 Last revised: 14 Oct 2022

See all articles by Samuel Häfner

Samuel Häfner

Web3 Foundation; University of St. Gallen

Date Written: October 13, 2022


This paper analyzes a dynamic general equilibrium model of a blockchain platform with a native utility token, like Ethereum. On the one hand, the tokens allow users to access the platform's services. On the other hand, the platform uses the tokens to reward network nodes for participating in the underlying proof-of-stake consensus protocol. The platform offers a reward path to the nodes and a path of service quality levels to its users and then repeatedly interacts with them in a spot market to finance service provision. A key feature of such blockchain platforms is that users face network congestion and thus compete for the services by employing some of their tokens. In the optimal platform design, users receive positive rent, and the service quality is inefficiently low. Another feature is that security requires a relatively high, constant staking rate. In the optimal design, the staking rate has no influence on the participants' rents. There is an initial coin offering (ICO) in the first round in any optimal design. Some optimal designs create more ICO hype than others.

Keywords: blockchain, platform, ICO, proof-of-stake, decentralization, utility token, antitrust

JEL Classification: D40, D47, D59, G29, L40.

Suggested Citation

Häfner, Samuel, Blockchain Platform Design (October 13, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Samuel Häfner (Contact Author)

Web3 Foundation


University of St. Gallen ( email )

Varnbuelstr. 14
Saint Gallen, St. Gallen CH-9000

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics