Blockchain Technology and the Challenges for Antitrust Law

Rapidly evolving blockchain technology has been creating significant issues for antitrust agencies. Unlike traditional systems, decentralized nature of blockchain provides an authoritative record that everyone trusts sharing information on peer-to-peer network and aggregating a shared ledger trusted by everyone to authenticate transactions[1]. Disruptive nature of the technology creates various efficiencies for consumers by eliminating the need for intermediary via trusted encrypted system and by providing more secure and effective transaction system[2]. Having said that decentralized nature of blockchain may pose challenges to antitrust agencies built upon centralized legal structures and enforcement[3]. This disruptive technology invites enforcement agencies to consider whether traditional antitrust rules are sufficient to detect antitrust violations committed on blockchain or regulatory intervention in the area is needed and or how to determine agencies’ jurisdictional scope on blockchain related antitrust claims[4].

As a distributed ledger, Blockchain’s innovative solutions serve broad range of applications including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum[5]. All that being said, the first antitrust case was filed in December 2018 with a complaint by a Florida-based technology company United American Corporation (“Plaintiff”) against Bitmain, China-based bitcoin miner, and several other stakeholders in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida[6]. Plaintiff’s claims are mainly based on the manipulation of the cryptocurrency market for Bitcoin Cash and several related allegations including centralizing the market what is intended to be a decentralized transactional system by allegedly harming many U.S. Bitcoin holders[7]. While the case is still pending before U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida (Miami Division), it is expected that the case will be a landmark to indicate the role of crypto-economy…

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