Conflict Management for Regulation-Averse Blockchains?

Riikka Koulu, Kalle Aleksi Markkanen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The blockchain architecture is often envisioned as a potential mechanism for the automation microtransactions between interconnected IoT applications, as transactions could be directly enforced through the technical governance structure it provides. However, this chapter draws attention to the limitations of the blockchain architecture in providing tools for conflict management, which is here considered to be a vital for both governance and the legitimacy of the system. Although blockchain’s potential for conflict prevention is often emphasised, experiences from public blockchain networks such as Ethereum demonstrate that prevention is not sufficient but instead dispute resolution mechanisms are needed for addressing unpredictable events. To this end, alternative conflict management strategies have been developed for blockchain-related disputes. We assess these emergent redress mechanisms from the perspective of conflict management with specific attention to fairness of outcomes and due process rules. By making a distinction between systemic disputes and low intensity disputes we demonstrate how conflict management, governance and technological infrastructure converge on blockchain networks. This convergence, in turn, influences how fairness expectations and due process safeguards are formulated, causing concern for the fairness of emergent conflict management. The design of blockchain-based IoT applications should take into consideration the need for conflict management and particular attention should be paid to the fairness of such mechanisms, as these contribute to the fulfilment of fairness expectations, the legitimacy and predictability of governance structures and, in the end, feasibility of mainstream use.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRegulating Industrial Internet through IPR, Data Protection and Competition Law
EditorsRosa Ballardini, Olli Pitkänen, Petri Kuoppamäki
Number of pages28
Place of PublicationAlphen aan den Rijn
PublisherKluwer Law International
Publication dateSept 2019
ISBN (Print)9789403517704
ISBN (Electronic)9789403503417
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Fields of Science

  • 513 Law

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