A brief set of steps that the student should consider both educationally and within their organizations regarding blockchains.
- Barely eight years ago, a new digital currency appeared. Open sourced and without any traditional governance, this new currency, Bitcoin, has captured our imaginations. A currency existing entirely on the internet, completely unobligated to regulations and governance. A way to pay each other and organizations immediately and securely and without financial intermediaries such as banks. Its implications continue to confound and its long-term impact still to be determined, but underneath it, powering this new digital currency is something even more intriguing and potentially game changing, a new distributed database called a blockchain, a technology so disruptive to have the potential to be more impactful in the long run than the internet itself.
But as we've discussed, the blockchain has many obstacles to overcome, but none seem insurmountable. Following the money shows that venture capitalists, VCs, are investing heavily and making big bets on the ideas that the blockchain will power and the wealth it might create. In this course I've presented the basics of the blockchain. You should have an introductory understanding of the technology, the way it's been applied, its possible future and some of the risks and issues currently associated with it.
What should you do next? I recommend exploring some of the new organizations we've discussed. In particular, learn about Ethereum and Smart contracts. Learn about the Hyperledger and the organizations that support it. Along the way you might even consider buying and using a few dollars of Bitcoin. Take a look at what a few financial organizations are doing like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs. I'd also recommend learning about how regulators and governments are responding.
The blockchain presents us with an exciting and intriguing future. A future where distributed autonomous organizations might exist. Organizations without leadership or location, entities and systems that need power, smart cities and the internet of things. It might enable accurate voting in elections from a smartphone. And we may finally securely protect the intellectual property of digital things. Regardless of where we go from here, the blockchain has expanded our minds and helped us to imagine greater possibilities.
That's exciting and that's worth learning more about. Thank you.
Jonathan begins by describing some of the current challenges with the Internet, including existing risks and security problems such as identity management. Next, he describes how traditional online databases function, so that you have a basis for how the blockchain redesigns this function. He then describes how the blockchain becomes a potential solution for many of the existing limitations of online databases. Since the blockchain has its genesis in Bitcoin—the digital currency—he provides some background on that too. He also discusses how blockchain technology actually offers new capabilities beyond simply solving old problems. To wrap up the course, Jonathan shares steps you can take in your organization to understand the implications of the blockchain.
- Risk and security challenges
- Rethinking the traditional database
- What is the blockchain?
- What problems does the blockchain solve?
- Transforming transactions
- Examples of the blockchain in action
- Obstacles to blockchain adoption
- Risks to existing solutions and enterprises