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Blockchain Basics

Thinking about the future of blockchain innovation

From the course: Blockchain Basics

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  • Course details

    We're on the precipice of a radical and disruptive new way of conducting all manner of transactions over the Internet. While still in its infancy, blockchain technology demands attention. In this introductory-level course, learn what blockchain is and what it might mean to you. Jonathan Reichental—named one of the world's top 100 CIOs in 2017—dives into blockchain technology from a conceptual perspective. The course is primarily non-technical by design, intended for those working in business leadership positions, data science, and IT management.

    Jonathan begins by describing some of the current challenges with the Internet, including existing risks and security problems such as identity management. Next, he describes how traditional online databases function, so that you have a basis for how the blockchain redesigns this function. He then describes how the blockchain becomes a potential solution for many of the existing limitations of online databases. Since the blockchain has its genesis in Bitcoin—the digital currency—he provides some background on that too. He also discusses how blockchain technology actually offers new capabilities beyond simply solving old problems. To wrap up the course, Jonathan shares steps you can take in your organization to understand the implications of the blockchain.


    • Click here to view Jonathan Reichental’s instructor page

      Jonathan Reichental

      Educator | CEO | Writer | Adviser | Speaker | Investor | Author of Smart Cities for Dummies for Wiley

      Dr. Jonathan Reichental is an award-winning technology leader.

      In 2013, he was recognized as one of the 25 doers, dreamers, and drivers in government in America. His innovative work in government has also been recognized by the White House. Dr. Reichental works with his teams to apply technology innovation in organizations to create new value and to enable work to be more meaningful and fun. He is a popular writer, recently coauthoring The Apps Challenge Playbook, and he is a frequent public speaker on a wide range of technology and business-related topics. He teaches classes at University of California, Berkeley, and at the University of San Francisco.

    Skills covered in this course

  • Welcome and introduction

    - The blockchain is a work in progress. Being open sourced, it is continually being updated. In addition, how the blockchain is being applied continues to evolve in surprising and compelling ways. Here are just a few of the innovations that the blockchain is enabling. Up until now we've been talking about discrete data being stored in blocks in this distributed database or distributed ledger as we prefer to call it. But what happens if instead of simply data, a block contains some instructions that under certain circumstances are executed? In this way when a certain blockchain transaction takes place, some set of actions are triggered. This is one of the most exciting areas of the blockchain and we call it Smart contracts. While a Smart contract actually is software code executed on the blockchain, the terminology use of the word contract indicates that the code enforces some form of governance or rule. We should think of this as the general concept since many argue that the use of…

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