Blockchains and the economic institutions of capitalism

Paper by Sinclair Davidson, Primavera De Filippi, and Jason Potts

Accepted in the Journal of Institutional Economics

Abstract: Blockchains are a new digital technology that combines peer-to-peer network computing and cryptography to create an immutable decentralised public ledger. When 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 blockchainbased economic coordination and governance. We claim that blockchains are an instance of institutional evolution

Working paper version available at Academia