Weekly Top 5 Papers – July 23, 2018

1. Coin-Operated Capitalism by Shaanan Cohney (University of Pennsylvania Law School; University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Sciences), David A. Hoffman (University of Pennsylvania Law School; Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School), Jeremy Sklaroff (University of Pennsylvania Law School – Student/Alumni/Adjunct; University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School, Students),  and David A. Wishnick (University of Pennsylvania Law School)

“One of the founding promises of the ICO market is that it is runs on trustless trust — i.e., a world without wise gatekeepers.  As a legal scholar firmly committed to the value of intermediaries, I wanted to learn more about the reality of that system.

I helped to assemble an interdisciplinary team of legal scholars and coders.  Together, we examined the top 50 grossing ICOS of 2017, asking what promises they made in their initial disclosures, contracts and marketing documents, and how they encoded such promises in tokens and smart contracts. Generally, we found that there’s actually quite a bit of trust in this market — trust that the developer teams represent projects truthfully and refrain from harmful modifications to circulating tokens; that some smart money is policing governance on the side; and, above all, that reputation will constrain opportunism. Along the way, we try to give readers enough detail about how the code actually works so that it’s not merely a black box.

Not sure where we are going next. There’s tons of interest in the topic of blockchain governance, but current market froth does make it seem somewhat … academic … for now!” -Dave Hoffman


2. Pulling the Goalie: Hockey and Investment Implications by Clifford S. Asness (AQR Capital Management, LLC) and Aaron Brown (New York University (NYU) – Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences)


3. A Brief Introduction to the Basics of Game Theory by Matthew O. Jackson (Stanford University – Department of Economics)


4. Psychopathy by U.S. State by Ryan Murphy (Southern Methodist University (SMU))


5. Digital Tulips? Returns to Investors in Initial Coin Offerings by Hugo Benedetti (Boston College – Carroll School of Management Carroll School of Management) and Leonard Kostovetsky (Boston College)



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