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The Next Big Thing? Regulatory Interest in Blockchain Continues to Gain Momentum

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Blockchain technology is expected to transform commercial transactions between companies by making them more efficient, traceable and secure without the need for centralised transaction records held by a trusted intermediary. In order to unlock the full potential of blockchain technology, collaboration between multiple users who are often competitors is unavoidable. As a result, companies need to be mindful of risks in relation to potential cartels, dominance and merger control, and how regulators are approaching complex jurisdictional and enforcement issues. The development of blockchain is predicated on the establishment of common technical standards, yet standard-setting may harm competition if it is used to foreclose innovative technologies and prevent effective access to new technical standards. Regulators are also looking at information exchange and collusion risk associated with blockchain technology. It remains unclear how competition authorities will approach the regulatory and jurisdictional issues raised by blockchain technology, but companies need to be aware of the potential competition law risks as they harness the benefits of this promising technology.