A Personal Roadmap to Understanding the Blockchain
I was a casual observer of the blockchain phenomenon over the past year or so. I read what interested me from the feeds that I had signed up. I shared some of these posts on my social media channels. Occasionally I either bookmarked some of these posts or created notes.
Recently, I began to realise that the blockchain is a force for change for the Internet and will likely impact many aspects of our lives. I decided to transition from being a casual observer to becoming a student of the blockchain. From initial discussions with my friends, associates and people I’ve been meeting at blockchain related events, I began to realise that many people would like to understand more about the blockchain in a systematic way.
Here I attempt to build a roadmap for individuals to get started on understanding the key aspects of the blockchain and potential pathways to deep dive into specific topics. The information could be useful for general knowledge, as a launch pad to make educational choices, build new careers, develop new blockchain based applications and invest in the booming cryptocurrency market.
I would suggest that you initially speed read through this post to get a quick overview. On your next pass, you may choose to explore the various linked posts (anchor text) to review additional resources (the proverbial rabbit holes).
Before we get ahead of ourselves, here’s a definition of the blockchain: A distributed public ledger of transactions operated over a peer-to-peer network that is protected from mutations by cryptography and without the need for a managing agent. We’ll ‘decompose’ the various elements of the blockchain in the paragraphs below and in subsequent posts.
First, Let’s Start with the Why
Blockchain based applications are forming the basis of a new economic model powered by software (essentially cryptography and applications) that require fewer or in some cases no ‘middlemen’. This shift is starting to pick up it’s transformational pace and has already affected banking, various financial services (insurance, remittance, etc) and venture funding.
The transition to the blockchain based economy (cryptoeconomy) is powered by several factors. These include concepts of personal sovereignty and privacy, cost reductions from middlemen disintermediation, hyper innovation arising from entrepreneurs realising the potential for economic gains and the general public weariness from the failure of large centralised institutions arising from ethical decay.
Adequate preparation for this change will be essential for our continued success as individuals and nations. The cryptoeconomy promises to get more people engaged in the global economy and that could result in huge economic growth that will benefit a wider range of people instead of wealth concentration in just a few inidividuals. Some pundits claim that we will soon witness a massive redistribution of global wealth.
It appears that FOMO is causing many to particpate in blockchain ventures — in particular, cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin) and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), without adequate knowledge and preparation. We tend to only hear of the lucky few for whom the gambles have paid off. We do not hear often enough of people who have lost their wealth from losing their crypto private keys and from a wide variety of ICO scams.
Having adequate knowledge may protect some of us from needless loss and offers us the opportunities to participate in the emerging cryptoeconomy in various ways. Here’s my suggestion to acquiring that knowledge with a personal roadmap. I look forward to your comments and suggestions.
Make understanding the blockchain your side hustle, because your future may depend on it.
A Personal Roadmap to Understanding the Blockchain
- Get a quick overview by watching a few YouTube videos (Understand the Blockchain in Two Minutes, How the Blockchain is Changing Money and Business, 19 Industries The Blockchain Will Disrupt)
- Review the Blockchain Wiki
- Download and read Blockchain Hub’s Handbook
- Review the thesis written by Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of the bitcoin — probably the most well-known blockchain application: Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System
- Start to widen your vocabulary with blockchain related words and phrases. Here’s a good reference: Blockchain Dictionary
- If you are still keen on the blockchain topic, it may be time for you review additional resources and take some notes. Bookmark key sites, save resources onto Evernote or Pocket, save information onto some note taking application or write them into a journal.
- Get regular updates: setup Google Alerts for some keywords (for example, blockchain, bitcoin, ethereum), setup a Refind feed, enroll for selected Medium stories, follow some key personalities through their social media channels (for example, Don Tapscott, Vitalik Buterin, Naval Ravikant)
- Track ecosystem updates: Blockchain Project Ecosystem by Josh Nussbaum
- Review the ups & downs — trending use cases, scams, opportunities & threats
- Understand key concepts — standards, protocols, etc
- Deep dive into topics that interest you — technical, disruption, thesis papers, use cases, etc. BlockchainHub is a useful resource.
- Share your knowledge — family, friends, social media, etc.
- Network and engage in discussions with like-minded people — at Meetups, events, online forums
- Explore some blockchain apps. Learn to purchase small quantities of cryptocurrencies & how you should protect your cryptoassets.
- Get some education. Enroll for free MOOCs or paid certified online or on-site courses. Update your LinkedIn or Indorse profiles.
- Learn to build a blockchain app. Review this Medium story for inspiration.
- Write about your journey navigating the blockchain roadmap.
- Participate in events when you feel more confident— as a presenter or panel member
- Plan on making a living on your blockchain knowledge — consultant/advisor, corporate innovator, educator, entrepreneur, regulator, etc.
I hope the above roadmap helps you on your journey to understanding blockchain technology and potential applications. I welcome any feedback to improve this story.
I plan to expand on the above suggested steps in the roadmap in subsequent posts.
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This story has also been published in Steemit.
Please check out my other Medium posts on the blockchain topic: