To read this content please select one of the options below:

Markets for rules: the promise and peril of blockchain distributed governance

Nick Cowen (School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)

Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

ISSN: 2045-2101

Article publication date: 24 September 2019

Issue publication date: 19 June 2020




The purpose of this paper is to explore the possible contributions of blockchain technology to creating new governance structures that facilitate social cooperation.


Conceptual analysis with key ideas in new institutional economics and political theory is used in this paper.


Blockchain technology provides a new tool through which political entrepreneurs can credibly alienate some of their power within a system of rules that they have established.


This paper links discussion of blockchain entrepreneurship in commercial markets to research into private governance.



An earlier version of this paper was generously awarded the 2018 Hayek Essay Prize by the Mont Pelerin Society. The first draft of this paper was written as part of a fellowship at the Classical Liberal Institute, New York University School of Law. Many thanks are due to Shruti Rajagopalan, Abigail Devereux, Malte Dold, Charles Delmotte and Jake Brukhman.


Cowen, N. (2020), "Markets for rules: the promise and peril of blockchain distributed governance", Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 213-226.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles