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Blockchains and the economic institutions of capitalism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 January 2018

SINCLAIR DAVIDSON
Affiliation:
School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
PRIMAVERA DE FILIPPI
Affiliation:
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris, France
JASON POTTS*
Affiliation:
School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract

Blockchains are a new digital technology that combines peer-to-peer network computing and cryptography to create an immutable decentralised public ledger. Where the ledger records money, a blockchain is a cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin; but ledger entries can record any data structure, including property titles, identity and certification, contracts, and so on. We argue that the economics of blockchains extend beyond analysis of a new general purpose technology and its disruptive Schumpeterian consequences to the broader idea that blockchains are an institutional technology. We consider several examples of blockchain-based economic coordination and governance. We claim that blockchains are an instance of institutional evolution.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Millennium Economics Ltd 2018 

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