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Blockchain technology is transforming how markets work.
Blockchains eliminate the need for trusted gatekeepers like
banks to execute, verify, and record transactions. In the
financial markets, their disruptive potential threatens both
Wall Street banks and Silicon Valley venture capitalists. How
blockchain technology is regulated will determine whether it
encourages or inhibits competition. Some blockchain
applications present serious fraud and systemic risks,
complicating regulation. This Article explores the antitrust and
competition policy challenges blockchain presents and proposes
a regulatory strategy, modeled on Internet regulation and net
neutrality principles, to unlock blockchain’s competitive
potential. It contends that financial regulators should promote
blockchain competition—and the resulting market
decentralization—except in cases where specific applications
are shown to harm consumers or threaten systemic safety.
Regulators also should ensure open access and non-
discrimination on dominant blockchain networks. This
approach will not only serve traditional antitrust goals of
lowering prices and promoting innovation, but it also might
achieve broader economic and social reform by reducing the
power and influence of the biggest financial institutions.