Sat, 12 January 2019
As we all know at this point, the first use of blockchain technology was to create decentralized digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. But a blockchain is a much more general technology than this: it is a decentralized ledger that is resistant to tampering by any one individual. As such, it is a technical innovation that can allow us to coordinate activities that a lack of trust may have prevented otherwise.
Mikayla discusses institutional cryptoeconomics, an emerging field of research centered on the ways blockchain technology can improve both private and public institutions.
Mikayla's Medium article on Crypto Fiscal Federalism discusses how blockchain could make the system of making government grants more transparent and efficient.
This article by Mikayla's colleagues at RMIT gives a detailed and accessible introduction to institutional cryptoeconomics.
Sat, 23 June 2018
Today's guest is Thibault Schrepel of the University of Utrecht. We discuss his work on the relationship between blockchain technology, which allows for the decentralization of firms and organizations, and anti-trust law. Here's a quote from his article on the topic:
But in the end, one question arises as follows: is blockchain the death of antitrust law? Should it be? Answering them today is not easy as blockchain is still prone to drastic evolution, but some initial answers are to be provided nonetheless. In order to do so, this paper proceeds in three parts. The first details how unilateral practices can be implemented on blockchain and further establish a risk map. The second part focuses on the challenges for enforcers and presents a new theory entitled “regulatory infiltration." The last part questions the legitimacy of competition law in the face of this technology - the "blockchain antitrust paradox" - and the need to decentralize competition authorities.
Fri, 10 October 2014
This episode of Economics Detective Radio features Zack Hess. Zack is working on a project called “TruthCoin,” a decentralized prediction market based on the technology behind bitcoin.
Prediction markets are a highly effective way to bring together dispersed information and insight into prices that reflect the likelihood of any future event. However, recent attempts to create centralized prediction markets have been thwarted by governments under antiquarian anti-gambling laws.
Enter TruthCoin. TruthCoin is a prediction market (currently in beta) that will not depend on any central server or organization. This online market will be dispersed among all the participants and thus more difficult to shut down.
Furthermore, TruthCoin will not depend on a central arbiter. The main difficulty faced by the creators of TruthCoin is in creating incentives for human arbiters to judge the outcomes of bets correctly. The solution is for judges to be set against one another, for each judge to get a higher payoff when other judges are wrong. Then any attempted collusion between arbiters falls apart.
Zack is an anarchist, and he sees a proliferation of prediction markets as a potential end run around the political class. Prediction markets where people could bet on the outcomes of given policies could force politicians to do what the prediction markets indicate is best. If, for example, a politician proposing a war claims it will have few casualties, a prediction market in “the number of casualties given that war is declared” could contradict the politician’s claim and make the war politically impossible.