Blockchain For Dummies: What you really need to know

The first 'Blockchain For Dummies' guide was released by Wiley earlier this year. Download the first chapter 'Getting started with blockchain’ in PDF format. And read an exclusive interview with author, Tiana Laurence (co-founder of Factom), below.


How did you come to write this ‘for dummies’ guide?

I was contacted by my editor after he had found some of my thought leadership pieces floating on the internet. He was looking for a person that could explain this technology to the average person that did not have a technical background. I had spent the last year in Silicon Valley educating executives and governments about blockchain, so it was a natural fit.

What do you think is the most important thing for senior executives to understand about blockchain?

Blockchain can be used for many different things, but they only do a few simple tasks. Blockchains create, for all intents and purposes, permanent data that is locked in time. Since data can be used for a variety of different things, so can blockchains. It is best to find one small place where this capability will add value and then test your idea rather than becoming overwhelmed by all the places you could hypothetically use blockchain technology. Also, there are many blockchains available that have been designed to do different things. Look for the one that was intended to solve your problem and start on a small scale. 

What questions do you get asked most about blockchain?

Most frequently I'm asked, how blockchain technology adds value above what is already in the marketplace. The answer: there are three reasons you would use a blockchain versus a traditional database - #1: You wish to trade value. Blockchains are able to move money quickly and cheaply. #2: You wish to collaborate on a set of data between parties that may have opposite incentives. Because of the permanent and transparent nature of blockchain, one can't go back and change what has been written. This quality is very valuable in business interactions. #3: You want to create redundant and persistent data. The distributed nature of blockchains makes them ideal for record keeping. 

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