By @SimonCocking review of Blockchain, Transforming Your Business And Our World, by Mark Van Rijmenam and Philippa Ryanavailable from Amazon here.

The internet was envisaged as a decentralised global network, but in the past 25 years it has come to be controlled by a few, very powerful, centralised companies. Blockchain is a technological paradigm shift that allows secure, reliable, and direct information transfer between individuals, organisations, and things, so that we can manage, verify, and control the use of our own data.

Blockchain also offers a new opportunity for humanity to fix some major problems. It can authenticate data, manage its analysis, and automate its use. With better data comes better decision-making. In this way, Blockchain can contribute to solving climate change, reduce voting fraud, fix our identity systems, improve fair trade, and give the poor an opportunity to improve their lives by monetising their (digital) capital. A world built upon peer-to-peer transactions and smart contracts can empower individuals and communities.

This book offers a fresh perspective with which to consider this transformative technology. It describes how Blockchain can optimise the processes that run our society. It provides practical solutions to global problems and offers a roadmap to incorporate Blockchain in your business. It offers a blueprint for a better world. Filled with easy-to-understand examples, this book shows how Blockchain can take over where the internet has fallen short.

You may not realise this from the book’s title, but this is a passionate and positive endorsement of the many ways in which blockchain can achieve massive social good and benefits for humanity. This makes it a valuable and significant contribution to the literature on blockchain.  This book becomes part of a wider education campaign to help people realise that blockchain offers so much more than just an endless series of speculative cryptocurrencies built upon it.

Van Rijmenam and Ryan have carefully constructed a series of clear and informative chapters to help walk the reader through different areas of life, poverty, fraud, voting, identity and fair trade for example. In each of these areas they carefully explain why and how blockchain based innovations can deliver far better results than what we currently have on offer, and with them, the potential for better quality of life for the world’s unbanked and underprivileged billions.

The writing is clear and informative, aware of the fact that blockchain is not a silver bullet, solely operating on its own. They also, very early on, introduce the concept of these being ‘wicked’ problems, with all the various meanings that the word offers. We are rapidly moving into a world of greater complexity and challenging, non-trivial problems to be faced. With the growing capacity of IoT, big data, and now DLT (distributed ledger technologies) aka blockchain and it’s other evolving rivals, we are entering an exciting period in humanity. This book helps to remind us that these technologies could do so much to achieve real, socially impactful results, if we chose to apply our efforts to the right areas. It is an exciting and inspiring book to be reading in late 2018.


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