Antitrust Law Meets Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies in Court: Lessons Learned on Market Definition and Antitrust Injury from the Bitman Case
By: Luis Blanquez (The Antitrust Attorney)
Following DOJ’s remarks on blockchain, it was only a matter of time until antitrust law and the unstoppable blockchain world would meet in court. And it finally happened some months ago in the complex Bitmain case.
In this case a cryptocurrency developer and mining company sued Bitcoin Cash miners, developers, and exchange operators for violating of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and Section 4 of the Clayton Act. It accused them of manipulating a network upgrade to take control of the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. The Court dismissed the Amended Complaint twice (the last one with prejudice), for failing to plausibly show a conspiracy to hijack the network and centralize the market, an unreasonable restriction of trade, and antitrust injury.
- Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
Blockchain is such a complicated technology that just the simple task of defining it would require a much longer article. But the Southern District Court of Florida did a great job explaining in very simple terms what these two concepts––blockchain and cryptocurrencies–– are:
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency that trades in currency markets. The Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper, published in October 2008, launched the idea of this “peer-to-peer” version of electronic cash that allows online payments from one party to another, independent of any financial institution. The Whitepaper coined the term “Bitcoin”, and today Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash are different forms of cryptocurrency…