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Decentralized Mining in Centralized Pools
[Concentrating on the fall of the labor share]

Author

Listed:
  • Lin William Cong
  • Zhiguo He
  • Jiasun Li
  • Wei Jiang

Abstract

The rise of centralized mining pools for risk sharing does not necessarily undermine the decentralization required for blockchains: because of miners’ cross-pool diversification and pool managers’ endogenous fee setting, larger pools better internalize their externality on global hash rates, charge higher fees, attract disproportionately fewer miners, and grow more slowly. Instead, mining pools as a financial innovation escalate miners’ arms race and significantly increase the energy consumption of proof-of-work-based blockchains. Empirical evidence from Bitcoin mining supports our model’s predictions. The economic insights inform other consensus protocols and the industrial organization of mainstream sectors with similar characteristics but ambiguous prior findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Lin William Cong & Zhiguo He & Jiasun Li & Wei Jiang, 2021. "Decentralized Mining in Centralized Pools [Concentrating on the fall of the labor share]," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 34(3), pages 1191-1235.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:34:y:2021:i:3:p:1191-1235.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhaa040
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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