Blockchain Technology as an Institution of Property

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


This paper argues that the practical implementation of blockchain technology can be considered an institution of property similar to legal institutions. Invoking Penner's theory of property and Hegel's system of property rights, and using the example of bitcoin, it is possible to demonstrate that blockchain effectively implements all necessary and sufficient criteria for property without reliance on legal means. Blockchains eliminate the need for a third-party authority to enforce exclusion rights, and provide a system of universal access to knowledge and discoverability about the property rights of all participants and how the system functions. The implications of these findings are that traditional property relations in society could be replaced by or supplemented with blockchain models, and implemented in new domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-686
Number of pages21
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • bitcoin
  • blockchain
  • institutions
  • property
  • rights

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