About The Book

Sydney Opera House Harbour Bridge

Introduction

Back in late 2015, I was networking at the Blockchain Workshops in Sydney. The event was full of the world’s best and brightest cryptographic brains. I met more PhD’s at that one event than I have met in my entire life! I was surrounded by an ocean of uber-intelligence. Everything was fine until I asked one question…

“DESCRIBE THE BLOCKCHAIN IN 5 WORDS!”

Their eyes gazed over with longing lust towards the vol-au-vents. I was left in an almost uncomfortable sea of silence, surrounded by blank looks with that “Are you for real?” look – the question was an affront to their collective cerebral cortexes, the size of six solar systems combined.

The answers were delivered with almost indifferent enthusiasm:

  • “Crypto 2.0”

  • “Decentralized Database”

  • “Distributed Ledger Technology

  • “Peer to peer money”

Whilst these were all highly valid answers – what do you make of them? How about your friends or business contacts?

The technical answers reflected where the technology was and, in the main, still is – lodged firmly within the technical community.

When the internet was first described by Al Gore as “The Information Super Highway” everyone got it; the media got it. It helped take the internet mainstream – people could describe it quickly. This was the driver I needed to write Down The Rabbit Hole.

I wanted to write a core primer for business people and non-technical people, like you and me, to help you to understand and get beneath the Blockchain, to see its power and potential from a practical perspective,  made real by the global use cases being developed across multiple industries and multiple nations – without needing a Phd in Cryptography and a high degree of social awkwardness. I saw and continue to see my role as that of a translator. My commitment is to take complex ideas and break them down into easy, bite-sized pieces in such a way as to give you a clear handle on the technology and to help you capitalize on the blockchain in a practical way.

WHY DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE?

When I first had my journey of discovery into the Blockchain back in early 2015, after some mild earlier flirtation with bitcoin, I kept hearing people say:

“Once you go Down The Blockchain Rabbit Hole you will never come back!”

As I made my journey this phrase resonated with me, getting me to think about Alice in Wonderland. When Alice followed the White Rabbit Down The Rabbit Hole, she had no idea who or what she would face; from the Mad Hatter and the March Hare through to the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts. But Down The Rabbit Hole she found Wonderland, a new world full of riches and challenges that would change her life forever, making her look at her existing world in a completely different way…and so it is with the Blockchain.

Rabbit Hole

WHAT IS THE BLOCKCHAIN?

Blockchain is the technology that underpins Bitcoin – the world’s first cryptocurrency – a currency that is based upon cryptography.  Now get ready for your eyes to glaze over for just 20 seconds… From a technical perspective, it is a

“Peer to peer database that once written cannot be altered.” 

Now in the book I explain this in plain English so you can understand what appears to be technical jibberish – but let me give you a very, very simple example of how this technology can being used and how it can benefit you, me… everyone.

QUICK EXAMPLE OF HOW THE BLOCKCHAIN WILL DISRUPT BANKING

I am from the UK originally but live in Sydney, Australia. If I transfer money from the UK to Australia the banks, bless their cotton socks (that will very soon require darning) :

  • Charge me $50 for the privilege

  • Give me an exchange rate that is 2.5%-4% below the market rate

  • Tell me it will take three days

Now, that kind of sucks, doesn’t it? Why is it that it takes 3 days? In today’s world of instant gratification we all want things yesterday !!

With crypotcurrencies, you can. For example with Bitcoin for an international transfer

  • costs between 3-5c (yes that is cents)

  • the exchange rate is market rate less fees converting to and from bitcoin at both ends (c 1.2% in total)

  • it clears in 60 minutes

This is just the tip of a massive, massive iceberg.

Iceberg

With some clever lateral thought, which we will show you, and the use of some blockchain “magic dust” through what is known as smart contracts, you can potentially remove the need for

  • banks,

  • accountants,

  • even lawyers

We will show you :

  • how Estonia is using the blockchain for births, deaths, marriages

  • how a new social media blogging site is gaining traction that rewards people for high quality content – all paid in cryptocurrencies.

  • examples of use cases that are being built every day

By reading Down The Rabbit Hile, you will have the tools to understand and shape your own ideas.

WHY IS THE BLOCKCHAIN IMPORTANT?

The Blockchain is a technology that comes along once in a generation. It’s raw, but steeped full of potential – just like the internet was 20 years ago. Just consider the behemoth brands that have been created because of internet-based technologies – Facebook, Google, Amazon and Uber to mention but a few. Will the Blockchain create similar brands?

The Venture Capital community seems to think so. They have invested over $1.3bn of Venture Capital funds into the space so far with so much more on its way:

Equally, it was recently announced by IBM, who are reported to be committing $200m to blending IoT, Blockchain, and Watson, their Artificial Intelligence component, and WangXiang in China are committing $30bn funds over seven years for innovation within Smart Cities, which combine IoT and the blockchain. VC funds will follow behind to ensure that start-ups fill the vacuum of innovation that will be needed to fill these spaces. We are at the very beginning of a significant and seismic tsunami of disruption, most of which is currently bubbling deep under the surface, Down The Rabbit Hole and carefully hidden away – until now.

But here’s the challenge; the Blockchain is a very deep, very wide and very complex technology that we have already seen is very hard to describe easily. It brings together a whole raft of different technologies and ideas, but brings with it a new technological dimension that is a geek’s paradise – cryptography.

Crytpography is in the very DNA of Blockchain technology. With it, it has the potential to remove the need for trusted third parties – replacing them in the longer term with cryptographically protected computer code. Just think about that for one moment. Who are the trusted entities in our society?

These include bankers, lawyers, accountants, insurers. The list goes on. Each will be facing disruption with the potential that ultimately computer code could replace them. Perhaps that job could be yours?

WHY GO DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE?

Whatever your role, Down The Rabbit Hole will give you a practical hands-on guide to the technology and its potential. Whether you want to :

  • Make your organisation more effective

  • Make yourself more valuable in your marketplace

  • Make your business more competitive

  • Teach your clients more about the technology and its implications or

  • Become the new Mark Zuckerberg

Down The Rabbit Hole will have something for you. It’ s all in non-technical English, seeking to minimize jargon wherever possible, and includes heaps of global use cases that will help give you a practical insight into how the Blockchain is being used. It also looks at the challenges and weaknesses you will face in dealing with many of the realities of adopting or driving the adoption of the technology.

By distilling the complexity of the Blockchain into components that are easy to understand and digest, you will fast-track yourself to be at the leading edge of 21st-century business thinking.

Like Alice when she followed the White Rabbit into Wonderland, all you need is an open mind to have your eyes opened to the green field of explosive opportunities in the Blockchain space that are waiting for you Down The Rabbit Hole.