Discussion paper on blockchain technology and competition

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is entrusted with the responsibility of preserving and enhancing competition, not just through enforcement, but also through advocacy. Section 49 of the Competition Act, 2002 states that CCI “shall take suitable measures for the promotion of competition advocacy, creating awareness and imparting training about competition issues”. Recognising the growing interest of technology firms, businesses and institutions towards blockchain technology, competition authorities in different jurisdictions have shown keenness in understanding how this technology can create opportunities for enhancing competition and lead to efficiencies, and how this technology will interact with competition law.

This discussion paper is an effort to proactively discuss blockchain technology and how the technology interacts with competition law in India. This paper is expected to enable CCI to achieve its objective of promoting and sustaining competition in markets while maximising economic gains from innovation and introduction of new technology.

The aim of this paper is to provide broad level information to all stakeholders on the interplay between blockchain applications and competition law. Its contents should, in no way, be treated as the official view of the CCI, or CCI Officers. The examples or possible situations related to competition issues discussed in the paper are purely hypothetical in nature. Any case relating to the blockchain will be assessed on the merits thereof. This paper is merely an intellectual exercise and not a regulatory or investigative guidance. Readers should take appropriate legal and other professional advice, wherever necessary.