Blockchain and Buchanan: Code as Constitution

  • Shruti Rajagopalan
Part of the Remaking Economics: Eminent Post-War Economists book series (EPWE)


This chapter conceptualizes computer code as constitutional rules and constraints governing blockchain technology. The Bitcoin protocol is essentially a set of rules written in computer code, governing what is, and what is not, allowed by the participants in the Bitcoin network. In this sense, it is like a constitution. No single participant can change the rules, but new rules (in the form of upgrades to the open-source software) can be advanced by different participants. The key to understanding Bitcoin’s rules is to understand consensus at all levels. In this context, Buchanan’s scholarship analyzing constitutional choice is extremely relevant to blockchain technology in general, and Bitcoin in particular.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shruti Rajagopalan
    • 1
  1. 1.State University of New York, Purchase CollegePurchaseUSA

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