The Luxembourg competition authority is opening a market study into blockchain technology, according to a Tuesday announcement. The study potentially represents the first probe of its kind into the economics of Web3.
The government of the European Union member – which is a significant financial center despite its small size – has said it sees the technology underpinning crypto as key to the digital and environmental transition.
“Given the strong potential of the sector, it’s important to ensure that Web3 actors can develop in a market that is effective and competitive,” the Autorité de la concurrence said in a statement.
Competition market studies collect information from companies active in the sector about how a particular market works, and can be the basis for further enforcement actions for breaches of antitrust rules such as abuse of a dominant position.
This study will examine where and how newer blockchain-based companies compete with existing Web2 internet companies, and document potential anti-competitive practices implemented against Web3 projects, the regulator said.
Thibaut Schrepel, an associate professor at the University of Amsterdam who will help with with the probe as external expert, told CoinDesk the project may break new ground.
“To the best of my knowledge, it’s the first market study conducted by a regulatory agency whose goal is to protect Web3, not to attack it,” Schrepel said.
The European Commission is set to issue a policy paper on the metaverse later this year, which is expected to consider options if major companies such as Meta Platforms (META) squeeze out smaller rivals.