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Mechanism Design and Blockchains

by   Akaki Mamageishvili, et al.

Game theory is often used as a tool to analyze decentralized systems and their properties, in particular, blockchains. In this note, we take the opposite view. We argue that blockchains can and should be used to implement economic mechanisms because they can help to overcome problems that occur if trust in the mechanism designer cannot be assumed. Mechanism design deals with the allocation of resources to agents, often by extracting private information from them. Some mechanisms are immune to early information disclosure, while others may heavily depend on it. Some mechanisms have to randomize to achieve fairness and efficiency. Both issues, information disclosure, and randomness require trust in the mechanism designer. If there is no trust, mechanisms can be manipulated. We claim that mechanisms that use randomness or sequential information disclosure are much harder, if not impossible, to audit. Therefore, centralized implementation is often not a good solution. We consider some of the most frequently used mechanisms in practice and identify circumstances under which manipulation is possible. We propose a decentralized implementation of such mechanisms, that can be, in practical terms, realized by blockchain technology. Moreover, we argue in which environments a decentralized implementation of a mechanism brings a significant advantage.


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