Blockchain fever is hotter than ever. The World Economic Forum predicts that ten percent of global gross domestic product will be stored on blockchain by 2027,1 which has caused an unparalleled craze regarding blockchain’s possibilities.2 Some see it as a new way of organizing modern-day society,3 while others fear the chaos that it could create.4There are skeptics5 that deride blockchain as the new Netscape,6 while others see it as the most important innovation since the Internet.7 If the latter proves to be true, societies will radically change and so too must legal systems.
Western legal systems have historically helped establish trust between parties and reduce transactional uncertainty by providing recourse to legal procedures. Nonetheless, establishing trust still imposes significant transactional costs. Blockchain may reduce these costs to “a much, much smaller level”8 because it might make contracting easier and, on a broader scale, because it may alleviate widespread contractual inadequacy9 by creating a world in which “computers . . . fill in the gaps of contracts.”10 Blockchain could then efficiently facilitate trade, but it also presents numerous legal challenges with substantial implications for antitrust law.