I picked up Blockchain Revolution by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott because I was interested in learning more about the applications of blockchain technology. I know plenty about Bitcoin from first-hand experience with it and previous readings, so I was interested to see where the the technology behind it was heading. The first half of the book satisfied some of that curiosity while the second half had its faults by getting too attached to Bitcoin, political, and utopian. Overall the book was a “3 stars out of five” for me.
The book is organized into three sections, and I see the divide differently than the table of contents. The first section provides an explanation and background of blockchain technology, with some basis on Bitcoin, as a “distributed ledger”. The second section talks about application such as banking, insurance, smart contracts, deeds (and other ownership paperwork), IPOs, and a firm built around the blockchain. The third section lost any rational criticism for blockchain potential and took opinionated stances on politics, the music industry, and other topics while continuing to discuss implementation and the future of the technology. It brings up some critiques of the blockchain technology but then handwaves those away, like the energy required for mining while also wanting to address global warming.
The second section was my favorite and had some interesting insights into the financial industries and how they could benefit from blockchain technology and why many financial organizations are researching the potential. There were also some great examples where a blockchain-based business was compared to its traditional counterpart, for even new companies like Airbnb and Uber. This provided full context to see the technological advantage and adapting to any limitations. Beyond the bias becoming tangible in the last half, the rest of the book also felt like it had some weaknesses that would not stand the test of time with references to recent events.
Overall, the book was acceptable as a stepping stone to brainstorm blockchain potential in its world-wide and industry-specific contexts. If you are also interested in getting that primer to kick off your thoughts for applications in your industry, I can recommend checking out Blockchain Revolution. If you are looking for specific technical information or practical information, I bet you could find better uses of your time online despite the book’s grand promises.