Book Image

Blockchain for Decision Makers

By : Romain Tormen
Book Image

Blockchain for Decision Makers

By: Romain Tormen

Overview of this book

In addition to cryptocurrencies, blockchain-based apps are being developed in different industries such as banking, supply chain, and healthcare to achieve digital transformation and enhance user experience. Blockchain is not only about Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, but also about different technologies such as peer-to-peer networks, consensus mechanisms, and cryptography. These technologies together help sustain trustless environments in which digital value can be transferred between individuals without intermediaries. This book will help you understand the basics of blockchain such as consensus protocols, decentralized applications, and tokenization. You'll focus on how blockchain is used today in different industries and the technological challenges faced while implementing a blockchain strategy. The book also enables you, as a decision maker, to understand blockchain from a technical perspective and evaluate its applicability in your business. Finally, you'll get to grips with blockchain frameworks such as Hyperledger and Quorum and their usability. By the end of this book, you'll have learned about the current use cases of blockchain and be able to implement a blockchain strategy on your own.
Table of Contents (16 chapters)
Title Page

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Basics of Blockchain and the Illustration of Village Beta, aims to provide the reader with a straightforward example in terms of understanding how blockchain truly works and how it can apply to real-life situations. It provides a brief introduction as to why blockchain is a genuine matter for C-level executives and gives an illustration of how it operates.

Chapter 2, A Technical Dive into Blockchain, includes a description of the components of blockchain, as well as a description of those stakeholders who compose a blockchain network, before describing a block and its data structure, the hash, the previous hash, the nonce, and the timestamp. We'll then describe hash functions and their role in blockchain as well as discover how cryptography plays an important role in managing identities in the network and identifying stakeholders to provide authentication. We'll introduce symmetric and asymmetric encryption methods and the underlying pairs of keys tied to each account (private and public). We'll explain consensus mechanisms and illustrate the Byzantine Generals Problem, which is the first computer science problem to raise questions regarding consensus in a network in the presence of traitors or faults. We'll eventually go through an explanation of how the network keeps working to achieve truth thanks to game theory and economics.

Chapter 3, Ethereum and Smart Contracts, introduces Ethereum, a decentralized platform running like an operating system to build decentralized applications. We'll describe the components of Ethereum, its Ethereum Virtual Machine, which acts as a computer program, its fuel, referred to as gas, and its smart contracts, which can trigger actions automatically in respect of their code. We'll explain why Ethereum is so successful, how it differs from Bitcoin, and focus on their underlying consensus mechanisms. We'll finally end the chapter by understanding Ethereum's roadmap to a more scalable and efficient infrastructure and discover a number of real-world applications built on Ethereum.

Chapter 4, ICOs and Tokenized Fundraising Methods, explain these new token-based fundraising methods, which generate new cryptocurrencies that are sold against other already existing liquid money. We'll understand the current success of ICOs and why they are so risky, both for investors and project leaders. We'll illustrate a number of ICOs, including Ethereum and the DAO, and differentiate between utility tokens from security tokens as well as introduce legal concerns from regulatory bodies.

Chapter 5, An Economic and Historical Approach of Blockchain, provides an economic approach to understanding both Bitcoin and blockchain. It gives historical insights and economic facts to place this new technology in a worldwide context.

Chapter 6, Blockchain Legality, Compliance, and Regulation, describes the regulations and the behavior of governments in relation to blockchain, ICOs and cryptocurrencies. While China was initially extremely cautious, the US attempted to legally define ICOs and provide a regulatory framework. Europe is adopting a wait-and-see approach, while there is a genuine need for entrepreneurs to be overseen and helped by public institutions.

Chapter 7, Blockchain for the Business World and Achievements, touches upon blockchain applications that have been developed in various industries and use cases that have been conceived. We'll cover several issues, including trustworthiness in official releases, interoperability between IT systems, traceability within supply chains, automation and disintermediation thanks to smart contracts, digital identity management, public and governmental challenges, tokenization in the financial industry, and finally, digital uniqueness. Many fields will be covered throughout this chapter, including retail, healthcare, automotive, luxury goods, manufacturing, shipping, finance, arts, music, and sports.

Chapter 8, Future Outlook for Blockchain, describes where blockchain is heading and what can be expected in the near future in terms of the global economy, as well as what enablers blockchain unlocks both for governments and decision makers.

Chapter 9, Infrastructures and Cloud-Based Solution, explains what kind of blockchain can be found on the market and how their functionalities have evolved over time. We'll introduce four main blockchain protocols that have been developed to advance enterprise-grade issues and infrastructures available for building a blockchain project. We'll also discover more accessible cloud-based solutions provided by web giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM.

Chapter 10, Defining Your Needs, provides you with a methodology to fulfill a blockchain strategy for your company by defining whether specific business needs could use blockchain as a tool. This chapter also raises important questions and an overview of the costs underlying a blockchain project. In this chapter, you will understand the boundaries in terms of the implementation of a blockchain and whether it is truly a necessity. As a decision maker, you should make pragmatic choices to achieve organic growth and embrace a mindset where becoming digital is only one step to becoming performant and profitable.