Ioannis Lianos’ ‘Blockchain Competition’ in Ph. Hacker, I. Lianos, G. Dimitropoulos & S. Eich, Regulating Blockchain: Political and Legal Challenges (OUP, 2019, forthcoming)

I highly recommend this paper, available here. I was unable to review it on time, in part because it is long, demanding and comprehensive, as is often the case with Ioannis’ papers. If you are unable to read this 93-page primer, many of the main points are neatly summarised in this video interview Ioannis gave at the OECD. If you have a bit of time, I suggest you read the discussion of the various potential competition concerns raised by the blockchain from an EU law perspective in the paper’s last 25 pages or so (starting on page 65).

Konstantinos Stylianou ‘What can the first blockchain antitrust case teach us about the crypto-economy?’

This note, available here, describes the first ever blockchain antitrust case. In December 2018, UnitedCorp, a diversified technology company, sued Bitmain, the largest Bitcoin mining pool, in the first blockchain dispute with a focus on antitrust (United American Corp. v. Bitmain, Inc. Complaint). The case, pending before the District Court for the Southern District of Florida, is at its core a familiar collusion claim. The facts and allegations are as follows. UnitedCorp offers a number of blockchain solutions. These include BlockNum, which allows the execution of blockchain transactions using regular phone numbers; and BlockchainDome, a cryptocurrency mining system that uses the heat generated from the mining process to heat greenhouses for agricultural purposes. Both technologies rely on a cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash, one of the hundreds of publicly available (permissionless) cryptocurrencies. As with other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin Cash’s whitepaper and protocols set out its rules and governance. In November 2018, protocol developers disagreed on how to update Bitcoin Cash’s protocols. This resulted…

Konstantinos Stylianou and Nic Carter ‘Calculating Cryptoasset Market Shares’

A number of laws and regulations, such as antitrust laws and financial regulations, are informed by the relative economic size of the companies or assets under investigation. For the blockchain, this means that cryptoassets – i.e. digital instruments of economic value that are developed and traded on blockchain networks (e.g. cryptocurrencies, tokenised securities, crypto-derivatives, etc.) – with larger market shares are likelier targets for law enforcement or regulation. Properly measuring the economic footprint of cryptoassets becomes imperative. However, measuring the relative economic size of cryptoassets has proven challenging for multiple reasons. This paper. available here, presents the first systematic examination of the economic footprint of cryptoassets and their constituent actors, with the goal of providing comprehensive guidance into the size of the crypto-economy. The article proceeds in three steps: Part II explains the function and challenges of market share calculation. While some rules and obligations apply uniformly across industries, many are contingent on the relative size of the regulated subjects, meaning that smaller…