Expert Book Review: Blockchain for Business 2019

August 16, 2019 Peter Day

If you’ve heard that blockchain is the backbone of Bitcoin and want more information about how it relates to the world of business, then “Blockchain for Business 2019” by Peter Lipovyanow is worth the price tag.

For those who are already familiar with technology concepts such as public-private key cryptography, the book will likely be a quick and informative read.  It glosses over technical concepts in some places, and you may need to do further study of other resources to grasp the full picture, but if you are new to the blockchain world, then you’ll find this book a good place to start.  The book has plenty of helpful illustrations, but you won’t find any code samples within its pages.  There are other books available that focus on coding blockchain implementations, but this one is aimed squarely at the “what’s in it for my business?” audience.

There are many cryptocurrencies in the world, but this book focuses on Bitcoin as its development heralded the successful deployment of blockchain technology.  Early chapters each focus on one of the following five driving forces of Bitcoin:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cryptography
  3. Consensus algorithm
  4. Peer-to-peer network
  5. Software codebase

One key way these five forces combine to change business practices is through removing the need, in some scenarios, for a middle-man to provide an element of trust between two parties – such as in the use of escrow accounts.

The second half of the book looks at use cases in specific business sectors, though some interesting-sounding projects only get a paragraph or two, and I found myself searching online to learn more and find out what was happening on those projects now.

Note that the concept and value proposition of blockchain technology can be separated from the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies – here are seven other potential uses of blockchain discussed in the book:

  1. Real estate contracts
  2. Supply-chain management
  3. Peer-to-peer money lending
  4. Trade financing
  5. Combatting counterfeit goods
  6. Protecting rights to Intellectual Property
  7. Innovative social media platforms

And the list goes on.  The author compares the current state of blockchain technology with that of the Internet in the mid-1990s; a powerful new technology that few truly understood and whose future it was hard to predict.

After reading chapter 13, “The disruptive potential of blockchain technology,” you are not likely to walk away with a ready-formed plan for blockchain implementation.  However, what this chapter, and indeed the whole book, does well is to get you thinking: could this be the right move for us?

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