How does antitrust expert Thibault Schrepel view the development direction of blockchain supervision?

Blockchain technology has laid the foundation for building trust between parties, but it has not yet reached its potential. Dr. Thibault Schrepel said that both blockchain and antitrust have the common goal of seeking free economic trade. The cooperation between blockchain and antitrust requires mutual understanding and concrete actions.

Blockchain technology provides great credibility and transparency without the need for a trusted third party. However, the platform nature of the blockchain, its pricing method, and its impact on the supply chain pose considerable risks to users, the blockchain itself, or anti-competitive behavior against the blockchain.

Policy makers and the blockchain community now hope that competition policy and antitrust experts can find a middle ground to prevent blockchain controllers from participating in anti-competitive behavior, whether by controlling prices or reaching a collusion agreement in an unfair way increase price. This will reduce users’ trust in blockchain technology and prepare for failure.

How does antitrust expert Thibault Schrepel view the development direction of blockchain supervision?

We discussed this emerging issue with Dr. Thibault Schrepel, an associate professor of law at VU Amsterdam and a faculty member of the CodeX Center at Stanford University. Most of his research has focused on the antitrust aspects of blockchain technology.

He pointed out that “Western legal systems have always provided legal procedures to help establish trust between parties and reduce transaction uncertainty. Nevertheless, the establishment of trust will still bring huge transaction costs, and the blockchain may reduce it to A smaller level. At the same time, the nature of the technology raises basic questions about antitrust laws and how individuals conduct transactions.”

In the early stages of technology development, proactively contacting relevant stakeholders in the blockchain community to let them understand the anti-monopoly law and how the authorities deal with these issues may be a way forward.

: What attracts you to work on anti-monopoly law and make contributions to anti-monopoly law, especially those related to blockchain?

Dr. Thibault Schrepel : Thank you Professor Mainguy. When I was a student, after finishing his first hour of courses, I decided to study antitrust law. After that, I went to the United States to complete my studies and began to study for a PhD, discussing predatory innovation in the digital market. At that time, I wrote an article about blockchain technology and discussed the intersection between blockchain technology and antitrust in the OECD group.

From that moment on, I started to study the interaction between the two, which I find very interesting because everything is open. This motivated me to write several articles on this topic, and finally wrote a book called “Blockchain + Antitrust: Decentralization Formula”.

I started my research in this field by studying the antitrust issues brought about by blockchain technology, which is a typical legal issue. It took me a long time to realize that blockchain technology and antitrust are moving in the same direction, and more importantly, they complement each other very well. This book ensures the cooperation between the two after resolving the differences between the two.

Q: What are the most critical challenges you face in computer-related regulations? What are the challenges associated with emerging technologies?

Dr. Thibault Schrepel: It is difficult to say which one is the most critical. If you are an antitrust expert, understanding a certain technology is a major challenge, but it must be overcome. Let me be clear here: Antitrust lawyers and law enforcement officers do not need to learn blockchain code or artificial intelligence systems from scratch, but they must reach a sufficient level of computer science to understand the legal implications, options, and shortcomings of their actions. The same is true for smartphones. No antitrust expert knows how to design a complete smartphone, but relevant antitrust experts will understand the impact of smartphones on competition and how to regulate their use. Only in this way can antitrust experts be able to ensure the fairness of cooperation between procedures and agencies.

如果您是一名计算机科学家,那么您面临的挑战会略有不同。计算机科学家被要求与反垄断专家合作,开发正确的工具和有效的方法,并为这些工具提供相应数据。在此之前,他们还面临着激励问题。反垄断机构支付给员工的工资只相当于大型科技公司支付给他们的一小部分,他们无法获得更多的补偿。这意味着如果我们想克服这一挑战,我们需要讨论货币激励措施,这些激励措施保护和培育了相关的实践。

反垄断机构、政策制定者和市场参与者,所有人都可以从计算反垄断的新领域中受益,该领域旨在开发用于反垄断程序自动化和反垄断分析改进的计算方法。斯坦福计算机反托拉斯项目于2021年1月成立,旨在提高人们对该领域的认识,并提供具体的研究和解决方案。它组建了一个学术委员会,由55多家竞争机构和35名学者组成。

问:全球反垄断监管最令人兴奋的新发展是什么?

Thibault Schrepel博士:我不确定什么是最令人兴奋的新发展,但最让我兴奋的是技术与法律的结合,无论是增加程序和分析,还是实现实质性的目标。在《区块链+反垄断》一文中,我解释了区块链和反垄断都寻求一个共同目标,即通过诸如分权之类的手段让经济交易免受胁迫。

问:你的工作最容易被误解的是什么?你希望人们知道什么?

Thibault Schrepel博士:我希望我们能够超越“反对与支持”的执法辩论。我的工作试图为不同的执法情形做出贡献,希望我的工作更具活力,更符合复杂理论,并且有一定的创新。首先,我认为使用计算工具,如自然语言处理、无监督机器学习或基于代理的建模,是使反垄断执法更接近市场现实的一种方式。此外,区块链反垄断要求一种不同类型的执法活动,这意味着在不挑战区块链核心特征的情况下保护技术不受人为集权形式的影响。

Question: How can the legal system catch up and use advances in data science and technology to support legal innovation?

Dr. Thibault Schrepel: The legal system is designed and run by people, so education is the key. I believe that the definition of innocence in computer science needs to be learned in practice, so I opened up relevant resources and made them accessible to everyone. Antitrust agencies and governments need to prioritize the latest developments in blockchain technology, risks and opportunities, so that the public system can catch up.

Now more specifically, it is a challenge for the legal system to develop the correct calculation tools and provide them appropriately. In some cases, the necessary data is already in the hands of the agency. For example, they can mark past case law and train machine learning systems to detect new patterns on this basis. However, in some cases, it may be difficult to access the required information. Although it may be helpful to crawl and use public documents in the hands of other government agencies on the Internet, in the end, we will need to give institutions greater investigative powers. It is impossible for the European Commission to be able to access Google and Bing search for CMA’s data for a week. This is an important topic that should be discussed together with program fairness to ensure that anti-monopoly improvements related to the computer industry are in the public interest rather than personal interest.

Question: How can the antitrust and blockchain communities carry out long-term cooperation?

Dr. Thibault Schrepel: I use the third part of ” blockchain + antitrust” to answer this question, but I want to briefly say: (1) agree to the necessity of cooperation, (2) solve the problem, that is, antitrust Infringe on the blockchain, or infringe on its functions and goals (3) Specific plans that may be implemented by cooperation. One thing is certain: if blockchain and antitrust are not understood correctly, cooperation will never be achieved. Unfortunately, the confrontation between the two will eventually conflict with the interests of the blockchain community, the interests of the antitrust community, and the interests of the broader democratic market society. This is simple game theory.

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