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Understanding the Blockchain Economy

An Introduction to Institutional Cryptoeconomics

Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts

Blockchains are the distributed ledger technology that powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But blockchains can be used for more than the transfer of tokens – they are a significant new economic infrastructure. This book offers the first scholarly analysis of the economic nature of blockchains and the shape of the blockchain economy. By applying the institutional economics of Ronald Coase and Oliver Williamson, this book shows how blockchains are poised to reshape the nature of firms, governments, markets, and civil society.
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Chapter 4: The microfoundations of ledgers

Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts

Extract

Ledgers are a fundamental economic technology. This chapter develops the ledger-centric view of the economy. Ledgers provide an underlying infrastructure for exchange by allowing actors to prove, validate, and verify property ownership. In this sense ledgers map economic, political and social relationships. The chapter offers three analytic categories of ledgers (general, actual, and perfect), and considers the evolution of ledger technology in this context. Finally, the chapter tackles ledgers as rule sets for economic coordination, and the significance of this for interoperability.

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