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Dr. Thibault Schrepel on blockchain and competition law


Dr. Thibault Schrepel, Assistant Professor in European Economic Law at Utrecht University School of Law, visited IE and spoke about competition law, blockchain and the legal implications behind this technology.

Many bets that all citizens will use blockchain in a near future, whether it is to vote, to buy food or to implement any kind of transactions.  All relationships between companies will also change, including prohibited ones. Although blockchain applications are still in their infancy, the potential legal issues that will result from them must be addressed without further ado. This is particularly true with regard to competition law which is often used to shape the market power that flows from technologies, but in fact, blockchain creates similar legal issues for all of the fields of private law.

During the seminar hosted by IE´s Research CenterDr. Thibault Schrepel explored how Blockchain may transform transactions the same way Internet altered the dissemination and nature of information. He also described the challenges that blockchain presents for analyses of unilateral anticompetitive practices and proposes some changes to antitrust law and regulations that address those challenges.

Next, he discussed current antitrust laws and how antitrust authorities and regulations should tackle these issues. “Regulators must avoid using their unfamiliarity with a new technology to justify over-regulating a potentially beneficial advancement or employing what this article calls the “blockchain excuse” for regulation”, he explains in his paper Is Blockchain the Death of Antitrust Law? The Blockchain Antitrust Paradox (Georgetown Law Technology Review / 3 Geo. L. Tech. Rev. 281 (2019)

“Because blockchain is decentralized, anonymous, and immutable, questions arise regarding the ability to detect anticompetitive practices and their perpetrators. We show that some practices are de facto more likely to be implemented”.

The second talk by Dr. Thibault Schrepel during his visit to IE was hosted by our LawAhead Hub.

About Dr. Thibault Schrepel

Dr. Thibault Schrepel is Assistant Professor in European Economic Law at Utrecht University School of Law, Associate Researcher at University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and an Invited Professor at Sciences Po Paris. Most of his writing (published at Harvard, NYU, Oxford, Georgetown…) deals with the issue of innovation and digital markets. His first publication on blockchain law has been the world most downloaded antitrust article of the year 2018. Three other his articles of were among the world 10 most downloaded articles on SSRN in the years 2015, 2017 and 2018. In April 2018, he was awarded the “Academic Excellence” Awards of GCR (edition 2018) which rewards “an academic competition specialist who has made an outstanding contribution to competition policy in 2017.” Two of his recent publications are nominated to Concurrences “Antitrust Writing Awards”, edition 2019.