Understanding blockchain is daunting because the technology is quickly evolving and the general population has yet to experience how it will change our daily lives. Many enthusiasts have equated the current blockchain environment to the World Wide Web in 1997. Similarly, bitcoin and crypto are the forays into blockchain technology. But there is a whole world of information that lies beyond. What should you do if you have little interest in coding but you want to learn more about blockchain?
Overcoming the fear of learning something new rests on two questions; where do I start, and when will I master it? Let’s start where you are. Here are three attainable ways to get you up to speed on blockchain technology.
Participate in a structured learning experience
Often, the easiest way to jump in is with a structured, learning experience, as it provides an entry point into this complex space. If this resonates with you, we recommend taking an online course such as the SAICA/UJ webinar soon to be made available on SAICA’s website (www.saica.co.za).
ConsenSys Academy’s (www.consensysacademy.net) course on blockchain essentials provides a complete overview of blockchain fundamentals and use cases.
The Accounting Blockchain Coalition (www.accountingblockchain.net), which is setting guidance in auditing, accounting and taxes for crypto assets and blockchain-related transactions, is also working with IFAC and will release a webinar relevant for chartered accountants and CPAs.
Listening to podcasts like Laura Shin’s Unchained or Crypto 101 can also help. These do a great job of introducing blockchain and crypto-related topics in the context of what is happening in the space. As they are released on a regular basis, it is easy to schedule your learning time with each new release.
Read, read, read!
The first recommendation from insiders to non-developers is to try to read and understand sections 1–6 of Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’. The whitepaper proposed a system that replaces the need for central authorities like banks and financial institutions to facilitate transactions. It is remarkably elegant and should be reread as your understanding of the underpinnings grows.
Subscribe to sites such as Medium, Hackernoon, Reddit, Week in Ethereum, and EthHub which all do a good job of introducing blockchain and hopefully will begin to define specific interests for you in the technology such as core protocol, financial services, smart contracts, etc. As you read the various articles and blogs, follow the writers on social media as they publish papers and they will refer to new papers being published on an ongoing basis.
Go to events and network
The culture of the blockchain community embraces learning from one another. There are thousands of groups and events around the world to meet and engage with passionate people and listen to various viewpoints. Seek out local meetups for bitcoin, Ethereum and blockchain in general.
Continue to learn by doing, reading and re-reading blogs and articles, and accepting that you may always be growing your knowledge in this space. Blockchain is evolving so you should too!
Download blockchain whitepapers (freely available on the Internet) in industries that you are interested in as they describe in simple language, and in many instances, how the application of blockchain technology will change that industry.
The increased ubiquity of blockchain will fuel the demand for professionals with blockchain knowledge and skills. As companies adopt and experiment more, the need for blockchain education will rise.
Blockchain technology will be revolutionary in many industries, so the sooner you get started the better prepared you will be.