Every Friday, Law Decoded delivers analysis on the week’s critical stories in the realms of policy, regulation and law.
The concept of monopoly will reign in today’s Law Decoded. As a fundamental principle, blockchain technology is about distributing both inputs and outputs of information securely. In its still very young lifecycle, the technology has proven to have boundless applications on the basis of this fairly simple principle.
A secondary principle is decentralization, and in this way, blockchain technology seems inherently opposed to monopolies. The big challenge of Bitcoin’s white paper was finding a way to move value across parties without getting lost in either that proverbial valley between two Byzantine generals OR the trap of a third party. That’s not to say that every firm working in blockchain is morally so grounded as to turn down the opportunity to monopolize its market. But the tech is promising for addressing a huge range of concentrated power — especially in a digitizing world.
This week saw antitrust conflict between paeons of big tech and government. While those encounters were hostile, they will likely not result in any major damage to anyone’s bottom line. It also saw some new consequences for misuse of monopolized monetary power, which is a system that is also unlikely to change soon. The great thing about a monopoly, once you have it, is that it’s really hard for someone else to take it from you. But these are clusters of power that seem pretty obvious as places you’d look to decentralize.
Kollen Post, Policy Editor, @the_postman_