Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies have currency-caps implemented in their protocols, compiled by consenting operators. Bitcoin, for example, is capped at approximately 21 million bitcoins.
This paper discusses whether such currency-caps are illegal quantity-fixing conspiracies in violation of antitrust law. It is found that there is a present antitrust risk for cryptocurrency operators. This may render such operators subject to criminal and civil liabilities.
To determine whether currency-caps are antitrust conspiracies, we consider cryptocurrencies as money, securities and commodities and answer the following questions:
- Are the operators liable entities?
- Do they behave unilaterally or in coordination?
- Are the operators a company or a structural joint venture?
- Do currency-caps restrict trade?
- Do they have legitimate justifications?