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Blockchains and constitutional catallaxy

Alastair Berg (), Chris Berg () and Mikayla Novak ()
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Alastair Berg: RMIT University
Mikayla Novak: The Australian National University

Constitutional Political Economy, 2020, vol. 31, issue 2, No 3, 188-204

Abstract: Abstract The proposition that constitutional rules serve as permanent, fixed points of interaction is challenged by the existence of contestable rule amendment and the emergence of de facto authority. This observation not only applies to conventional political constitutions, but to the fundamental rules which govern interactions by numerous people using new forms of technology. Blockchain technology aims to coordinate action in a world of incomplete information and opportunism, but the governance arrangements in blockchain protocols remain far from settled. Drawing upon recent theoretical developments regarding constitutional change, we interpret changes to the fundamental working rules of blockchain protocols as central to the adaptive, emergent nature of activity within this technological space. We apply this concept of “constitutional catallaxy” to selected blockchain platform case studies, illustrating the dynamism inherent in establishing protocols within the blockchain. Blockchain coordination changes and adapts not only to the technological limitations of the available protocols, but to mutual expectations and influence of interacting stakeholders.

Keywords: Blockchain; Constitution; Distributed ledger technology; Entrepreneurship; Rules (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D71 K40 O17 P16 P48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10602-020-09303-9

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