P2P Transactions and Competition

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* Report: PEER-TO-PEER (P2P) TRANSACTIONS AND COMPETITION. Autoritat Catalana de la Competencia. July 2014

URL = http://acco.gencat.cat/web/.content/80_acco/documents/arxius/actuacions/ES_7_2014_TRANSACTIONS_BETWEEN_EQUALS_AND_COMPETITION_ENG.pdf


Summary

"This paper describes an approach to the innovation process consisting of the emergence of marketplaces, where this means websites or apps for mobile devices which are a meeting point for supply and demand, making it easier for almost anyone to become a supplier of goods and services in exchange for money. Thus transactions through these marketplaces are peer-to-peer (P2P), in other words the supplier may be someone similar to the consumer.

The innovation process briefly introduced in the previous paragraph has an obvious impact on conditions of competition in the market. To the extent that it facilitates entry into this market, making it easy for users to become suppliers, it will probably lead to an increase in supply. Markets or business sectors where this innovation has an impact are likely to experience a rise in the number of suppliers and hence there will be an increase in competition with the benefits traditionally associated with this: greater quantity and variety in supply, better prices and/or business conditions, innovation, etc.

This close link between the innovation outlined above and competition means that restrictions on the implementation of these innovations will mean restricting the possibility that there are more suppliers and thus ultimately that there will be more market competition.

This innovation is having an impact on more and more markets and areas, which means it is a cross-cutting phenomenon that it is evolving rapidly and growing in importance. In fact, we are precisely at a time when the emergence of this trend has become a matter of evident topicality in Catalonia and the whole of the European Union and, as will be seen below, there are many institutions and people that have referred to it recently.

The Catalan Competition Authority (hereinafter “ACCO”) is an autonomous body of the Government of Catalonia that is regulated by the Catalan Competition Authority Act 1/2009, of 12 February. Section 2.1 of the Act states that “its purpose is to ensure, improve and promote conditions of free competition and transparency in markets with respect to economic activities carried out mainly in Catalonia".

Among other factors, the fact that the above mentioned marketplaces have the ability to impact on the structure of a market and alter the conditions of competition in it together with the innovation inherent in them is what has led ACCO to explore this phenomenon. This paper is part of its function of promoting competition and is intended to be informative.

Consequently any references to specific operators are solely designed to illustrate the situation being mentioned and in no case entail any assessment of their actions in terms of competition policy. Likewise any references to statements by other institutions or individuals about the issue at hand have been considered necessary and appropriate, notwithstanding the fact that the paper reflects the position of the ACCO on this issue."


Contents

"the study is structured into two parts. The first section sets out its purpose, essentially what has been noted above which is the phenomenon of the professionalisation of users through the use of digital platforms (P2P). Following this the second section outlines the impact of this innovation on conditions of competition in the market, identifying both the benefits and challenges associated with it and, in respect of the latter, formulating a number of suggestions for addressing them."