Blockchain The next everything

Stephen P. Williams

Book - 2019

An introduction to how cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are just one example of transformative applications that this relatively new technology makes possible. The author 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.

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New York, NY : Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc 2019.
Main Author
Stephen P. Williams (author)
First Scribner hardcover edition
Physical Description
194 pages : illustrations; 22 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 193-194).
  • Introduction
  • I. Experiencing Blockchain
  • What Is Blockchain?
  • What Blockchain Does
  • Ships Not Seen
  • Embracing Distributed Systems
  • II. How It Works
  • The Chains
  • The Trust OS
  • III. Money And Creation
  • The Person Behind Blockchain
  • The Meaning of Money
  • IV. The Thrill Of The New
  • Stacks of Apps Called Dapps
  • Hunting Unicorns
  • Self-Sovereign
  • The New, New World
  • Next
  • Acknowledgments
  • Further Reading
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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. Agent: Susanna Lea, Susanna Lea Associates. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.