Blockchain 101 Resources for Managers

Our previous post provided a high-level overview of blockchain. To learn more, spend some time reading some of our favorite resources below. We have tried to draw on ‘mainstream’ sources as these tend to be more balanced.

Speaking of balanced, know that balanced might be good, and might not be good. There seems to be 2 types of blockchain people. The first type is corporate and conservative and embraces the presence of companies like IBM and Deloitte. The other camp are the anarchists, and its members seem to see blockchain as the thing that rids us of these corporate monstrosities.

The view of the blockchain will change based on which camp you believe in. I am in no position to judge and welcome the ideas from both sides. I will present some great resources from the anarchists in a subsequent post.

The 3 articles to start with are:

  • This Forbes article, Blockchain 101, provides a strong overview. It also provides a strong summary of the primary benefits of blockchain.
  • The World Economic Forum provides a strong overview, and even a helpful explainer video, in All You Need to Know About Blockchain….
  • This Harvard Business Review article gives the subject further credibility. The primary author, Don Tapscott, is a long-time writer on innovation. The article goes a bit deeper than the prior two but remains simple and clear.

With this understanding, go onto one of my favorite articles which does a great job of presenting an overview and does a particularly good job of describing the benefits of a shared ledger.

YouTube presents a number of great videos. Some to check out:

  • Perhaps the best video to start with is Richie Etwaru’s TEDx talk. It provides a simple explanation of blockchain and the underlying technology. It shows how blockchain is a trust accelerator and does this through increased transactional transparency, higher data quality and accuracy, increased trust in transaction reliability, and improved security against fraud and cybercrime.
  • Don Tapscott makes his second appearance on this list, and this video provides a good overview of innovations to come. Tapscott provides an overview of the problems that blockchain solves and speaks to its revolutionary potential.
  • This visual demo is not exactly 101 but is still required viewing. It will provide a visual representation of how the blockchain works. I hope to fully understand this one day! Required watching – get what you can from it, and then come back and rewatch.

To really understand blockchain, study some examples of what people are doing. A few places to start:

Use Cases

  • OpenBazaar – Wondering what the Amazon of the future might look like? This is a peer-to-peer marketplace where blockchain enables buyers and sellers to connect directly.
  • Everledger – One of my favorite use cases, Everledger focuses on provenance, and providing chain of custody information for the sale of valuable assets, starting with diamonds. This will initially help to prevent fraud though the potential for long term gains in value are significant.
  • Narrative: Content Economy – Another favorite example. Glad that you can use Twitter and Facebook for free? Well, ever think that while your usage is free, these networks earn billions off of your content? Narrative seeks to change this while also providing tools that enable communities to police themselves, where people are rewarded for quality content.

Let’s not forget those podcasts – a great way to stay current while you drive, run, or walk your dog.

Podcasts

  • Bad Crypto – these guys completely amuse me. Unlike the rest of the resources on the list, these guys are clearly anarchists. But they are both provocative and entertaining.
  • Unchained – a very high quality broadcast that covers important topics with talented guests.
  • The Daily Crypto – This is a frequently produced, under 5-minute overview of major crypto news. Easy to start your day with it.

If you really want to get to know blockchain though, nothing is better than talking to others about it. Find a Slack group to participate in. Best bet is look for meetups in your area – in NYC at least they seem to be daily, and oversold.

And just listen. I find it amazing how often ‘bitcoin’ comes up in conversation because of its meteoric rise. Jump into that conversation and see if you can explain to those around you how blockchain enables bitcoin. Once you can explain it to someone else, you are ready for 201!

Blockchain 101 Resources for Managers

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