In his new book The Business Blockchain – with a foreword by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s inventor – long time industry insider William Mougayar charts new territory in advancing our understanding of the blockchain by unpacking its elements like no other before.
Mougayar makes two strategic assertions in this book. First, the blockchain has polymorphic characteristics; its application will result in a multiplicity of effects. Second, we shouldn’t ask ourselves what problems the blockchain solves, because that gives us a narrow view on its potential. Rather, we should imagine new opportunities, and tackle even more ambitious problems that cross organisational, regulatory and mental boundaries.
Mougayar explains, “Blockchains are new technology layers that rewire the Internet and threaten to side-step older legacy constructs and centrally served businesses. At its core, a blockchain injects trust into the network, cutting off some intermediaries from serving that function and creatively disrupting how they operate.”
Just as the Internet created new possibilities that we didn’t foresee in its early years, the blockchain will give rise to new business models and ideas that may still be invisible. Mougayar anticipates a future that consists of thousands, if not millions of blockchains that will enable not only frictionless value exchange, but also a new flow of value, redefining roles, relationships, power and governance.
“The blockchain disrupts the traditional boundaries of value and its exchange methods. Blockchains will become invisible, and we’ll talk more about what they enable,” Mougayar adds. “Blockchains will allow us to perform the equivalent of “googling” to prove the existence or authenticity of records, identities, ownerships, rights, work done, titles, contracts and almost any process, service or product.”
In this book, Mougayar explains in non-technical terms, the key concepts behind the blockchain: distributed consensus, state machines, smart contracts, smart property, oracles, scalability, decentralised applications, distributed autonomous organisations, and the resulting impact on our privacy, security, online identity, financial services, healthcare, energy, government and governance models.
Some highlights from the book include:
- How to think holistically about the blockchain as a meta technology, a business model disruptor, and legal/regulatory policies challenger.
- The 10 properties exhibited by the blockchain (beyond its most popular one, as a distributed ledger)
- Blockchains as a new Internet layer, comprised of the new breed of decentralised applications.
- The unbundling of trust and how a new form of trust inserts itself between peer-to-peer relationships, and brings a new level of transparency, trust and truth.
- The rise of New Intermediaries. Just as the Internet replaced some intermediaries, now the blockchain is replacing other intermediaries, while simultaneously creating new ones.
- Industry cases in healthcare, energy and government, including an in-depth review of financial services.
- Practical recommendations for implementing the blockchain within the enterprise.
- The blockchain as the operating system that enables decentralisation, and its technological, political and societal implications.
- The birth of a crypto economy that creates its own wealth via new business models, and peer-to-peer transactional relationships between producers and consumers.
- A new flow of value, with the blockchain acting as the digital leveler that moves value across a new variety of markets.
- 47 blockchain predictions about a not-so-distant future, when blockchain technology permeates our world and creates new companies and new services.
The Business Blockchain is an invitation for technologists to better understand the business potential of the blockchain, and for business minded people to grasp the many facets of blockchain technology.
The Business Blockchain: Promise, practice and application of the next Internet technology is published by Wiley, June 2016, priced £18.99. By William Mougayar, with foreword by Vitalik Buterin