Blockchain: The Next Everything
A Short Guide to Blockchain
An experienced tech writer fully explains blockchain technology and how it will radically transform the world as we know it in this accessible, reader-friendly, illuminating guide.
What is blockchain? Why does everyone from tech experts to business moguls to philanthropists believe it is a paradigm-shifting technology, bound to revolutionize society as significantly as the internet? Indeed, why is blockchain touted as The Next Everything?
In this deft, fascinating, and easy-to-digest introduction to one of the most important innovations of recent times, Stephen P. Williams answers these questions, revealing how cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are just one example among dozens of transformative applications that this relatively new technology makes possible. He interprets the complexity into digestible anecdotes, metaphors, and straightforward descriptions for readers who don’t know tech, and explains all of blockchain’s most important aspects: why this so-called digital ledger is unhackable and unchangeable; how its distributed nature may transfer power from central entities like banks, government, and corporations to ordinary citizens around the world; and what its widespread use will mean for society as a whole.
Taking us on a dazzlingly vivid tour through the systems predicted to soon underpin economics, politics, global trade, science, art, and numerous other aspects of our everyday lives, Blockchain: The Next Everything is a truly extraordinary journey into our future.
Journalist Williams (How to Be a Hollywood Star) declares that blockchain possesses unlimited potential in this passionate, erratic love letter to the innovative technology. Presenting an almost stream-of-conscious series of short vignettes, Williams begins by defining blockchain a digital ledger originally created for recording transactions involving the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and explaining how it works, then expounds upon its other uses, which include tracking commodities from their origin to their sale, which could, he writes, stem trafficking in blood diamonds and other morally tainted goods; providing people without drivers' licenses or passports a form of government ID, a valuable benefit for the estimated 1.1 billion people without ID in the world today; and enabling the secure copyrighting of online photos and other files. In the future, Williams sees blockchain bringing about a newly decentralized and transparent internet. Woven throughout are anecdotes about attending academic panels one intriguingly titled "AI, Blockchain, and the New Matriarchy" and witnessing a psychedelic-laced shamanic ritual in the Amazon, during which Williams witnesses a "radiant green light... radiant with periodic dots" he compares to the nodes and system connecting the blockchain. This short introduction to a cutting-edge technology is appealingly informative and hopeful, but its inconsistent, flighty structure will largely restrict its readership to those already interested in the topic.)
Author overtly inserts his political views in a book that should be strictly technical. Left the the book half way through for a more interesting and less politically charged author.