Blockchain is a general-purpose distributed ledger technology that threatens to disrupt markets and institutions across the world.
Where the internet enabled the publishing and digital transfer of information, blockchain technology authenticates the ownership of assets, makes them traceable, and facilitates their digital transfer.
It therefore allows direct trading of assets by providing trust in the transaction and reducing uncertainty (through its use of trustworthy self-executing code).
Viewed from a competition policy perspective this might create both opportuntities to enhance competition and efficiency and risks of anticompetitive conduct.
4 November 2020 – Blockchain is an exciting technology with great but as yet unfulfilled potential. For competition and competition policy, it offers a number of promising opportunities, which agencies will wish to explore. However, from the standpoint of antitrust law the concerns remain the same. This paper explores the platform nature of a blockchain, how pricing on a blockchain works and how the blockchain fits into the supply chain. It considers the risks of anticompetitive behaviour by the blockchain, by its users of the blockchain and of anticompetitive behaviour being directed towards the blockchain. It also sets out a range of possible opportunities that arise from the adoption of the technology.
This report is a contribution to the work of the OECD Blockchain Policy Centre and the OECD Going Digital project.