BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY: A FUTURE ANTITRUST TARGET?
By Ryan C. Thomas and Peter Julian1
Technology companies face increasing antitrust scrutiny globally. In the United States, lawmakers are ramping up pressure to increase enforcement at federal and state levels. Several high-profile politicians, including U.S. presidential candidates, have called for new antitrust legislation that would make it easier to pursue allegedly "dominant" companies, especially leading technology firms.2 As more companies rebrand themselves to embrace e-commerce, future antitrust enforcement and private suits will extend beyond the large online platforms.
As blockchain applications increasingly expand beyond cryptocurrency into other areas, including supply chain and government bidding, companies and competition enforcers are developing experience with how antitrust issues play out with this much-hyped technology. Meanwhile, initial concerns around prematurely regulating and potentially stifling this emerging technology have given way to legislative efforts to limit illicit cryptocurrency uses, while promoting lawful uses of blockchain technology. While the promise of a sweeping blockchain revolution across the economy may seem overstated, real-world implementations have been progressing. This article explores the antitrust issues presented by blockchain implementations and implications for companies considering adopting blockchain technology.