A Web 3.0 Ally?
Yesterday, the Biden administration named Lina Kahn, a 32-year-old Columbia Law professor, as the new head of the Federal Trade Commission. Khan, who will be the youngest FTC head ever, is known as a fierce critic of big tech monopolies like Amazon. While there’s often a knee-jerk resistance to regulation and regulators among blockchain advocates, Khan’s concerns make her a potential ally on big issues like privacy. Her antimonopoly work could also create substantial market opportunities for new kinds of tech businesses – including those building decentralized systems and “Web 3.0.”
Enforcing U.S. antitrust law is a major part of the FTC’s mandate, and Khan is probably best known for helping redefine just what a “monopoly” is. She has been crucial, in part during seven years at the Open Markets Institute, in developing and promoting the idea that a company can be a monopoly even if its practices drive prices down – even, in fact, if its product is free to consumers. This largely hinges on how the firms gather and use data: Khan has been among the loudest critics of the way Amazon uses data gathered through its storefront, such as leveraging sales data to compete with third-party sellers who are, no less than shoppers, its customers.
Khan may also have a higher chance of advancing her own legislative and regulatory agenda than some other members of the Biden administration. At the most divisive moment in American politics since the 1960s,