Blockchain and Antitrust Law

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Dear Friends,

We often hear that the end is near, that we’re all going to die (Keynes / Steven Spielberg’s movie) and that technology (especially robots) is leading us to our end. But what if that were to be true, at least as far as competition law is concerned?

Last Friday, I was very fortunate to present my work on blockchain and antitrust law at the OECD. Today, I publish my working paper entitled “Is Blockchain the Death of Antitrust Law?”. I realize that this is a provocative title but I think the question should be asked for real (before it is too late and we all die ;).

In the first place, I describe how blockchain function and I review all unilateral practices in the light of this technology and explain how they could be implemented in it. In a second stage, I intend to show why it might kill antitrust law (making it inoperable for technical reasons), deeply challenge middle firms such as Google, Facebook, Uber… and more broadly, reshape your economies and societies.

Indeed, the very nature of this technology raises fundamental questions for competition law as we have never seen since the advent of the Internet. Because (among other things) blockchain is decentralized, anonymous and immutable, multiple questions do arise regarding the detection of practices as well as the identification of perpetrators, making it – in some cases – impossible to do so. So is the blockchain the Eldorado of monopolization practices? The answer to that question really is twofold, as you will see. But above all, blockchain, which is decentralized by nature, questions the legitimacy of competition law as we know it (highly centralized). Competition agencies are to be reshaped, which I develop a little.

Of course, this article gives a very primary overview of the issues caused by this technology. All comments and criticisms are very welcome!

I wish you all a great day (nevertheless),
Thibault

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