Blockchain 101: Top 3 places to begin your search
Whether you are a potential investor, trader, enthusiast, or learner, as a newbie in the Blockchain world, it can get overwhelming. Even the basic concept sometimes seems to be incomprehensible. Fear not, you are not alone trying to figure this out.
Technology has evolved from a basic browser and web page to instantaneous social connectivity. We are looking at a future where information will be decentralized and machines will be capable of processing and understanding information much faster than humans do. These are exciting times watching another era of the Internet doing what would have been deemed impossible.
In Africa, we are seeing more and more people embracing this technology. According to Chainalysis, Africa saw a 1200% increase in cryptocurrency payments from 2020 to 2021 with Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria leading the top 10 countries in the world. It is only safe to assume that you want to be part of this shift by either learning, investing, or sensitizing others.
Blockchain technology is the core of decentralized ledgers. It is no longer the future because it is here with us. From cryptocurrencies, cross-border transactions, NFTs, and voting to health care, Blockchain is already revolutionizing our world, especially in Africa.
So, where do you start?
1. A quick browse
Whether it’s the spelling of a word or the definition of a peer-to-peer network, the Internet has the answer. You could be using Google, Brave, Opera, Mozilla or even Tor. A quick browse is a guaranteed way to start your journey. Your browser will send its bots on a scavenger hunt across the Internet to get you the best results in less than two seconds. This will vary from published journals to websites on the Blockchain. It will be up to you to filter your source to credible and trustworthy information.
As for the websites, you will not fall short of the abundance of information. They range from company websites, personal websites, even blog websites, all providing the very information you are looking for. Let’s dive deeper about where to start:
This open platform is home to experts, dynamic thinkers, and undiscovered voices. Here you will get access to everything you need to know about Blockchain technology. You will find articles, and posts from like-minded individuals in a quest to share what they know with the world. You will come across news stories on the industry, partnerships, even opinion pieces. The right tag helps narrow your search to exactly what you need.
You know how an encyclopedia is a one-stop-shop for any information on a particular subject? Well, Investopedia is your go-to for all your financial content. Blockchain technology is made for accountability and transparency, especially in the financial sector. It’s no surprise that financial technology (FinTech) heavily relies on Blockchain.
Investopedia understands the need for investors and potential investors to know what they are risking their finances on. It’s with that knowledge that they equip their readers with current financial content. The website provides financial news, covering trading news, company news and market trends. The icing on the cake is their education sector which breaks down all your financial queries. It also has an A-to-Z dictionary for Blockchain jargon.
If you are looking to trade, buy or even hold crypto then Binance is the way. The website is not only a trading platform but also an educational platform with an academy. Their step-by-step learning has equipped both rookies and veterans with the necessary knowledge and skills to understand the technology. Through quick access, you can comfortably navigate to whatever you want to learn on all things Blockchain in the simplest words.
These three websites are just a few of hundreds that provide Blockchain information. A quick browse will give you optimized results.
2. You could take a course
What better way to venture into the unfamiliar than going back to school? For developers who require technical skills, you will not run short of online courses that even offer certification. This ranges from fundamentals, principles, and specialization to professional programs. Some websites offering these courses and training include IBM, Blockchain Council, and Codecademy among others.
If you are an investor or learner, you can feed your curiosity by taking the ‘Introduction to Blockchain’ course on Coursera. Through this course, you will be able to understand how the technology works, key concepts such as mining, hashing, and consensus algorithms such as Proof of Work,, and the steps of a Blockchain transaction. After the 29-hour course, you will receive a certificate.
You will find the Blockchain essentials course by B9 lab quite useful as it caters to a non-technical audience. This 20-hour free course covers a basic understanding of technical fundamentals, how smart contracts work, the technical and social discourse of the technology, and explores real-life Blockchain use cases. This course is ideal for those looking for a comprehensive introduction to Blockchain.
This community of Blockchain enthusiasts is on a mission to share their knowledge of Blockchain technology with the world. They offer courses such as ‘Cryptoeconomics 101’ and ‘Blockchain 101’ for non-technical audiences. You will learn how transactions are stored in Blockchain, how mining works, and the principles that give Blockchain its value.
Africa Blockchain Institute
Through their Blockchain Essentials Certification course, learners get to understand how Blockchain technology is being used as a solution to various problems across industries. This course is designed for students across different career backgrounds with little to no technical skills. Upon completion, you will have a world-recognized certificate that can be shared with prospective employers.
3. You could read a book
If none of the first two alternatives works for you, then reading a book should do. These books are written by experts in the field and explain the technology’s concepts, functionality, and usage in digital endeavors.
Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy by Melanie Swan
The founder of the Institute for Blockchain Studies talks extensively about cryptocurrency and smart contracts and shows how this technology will be the fifth disruptive computing paradigm. The book covers concepts and features of Bitcoin and Blockchain. The book also highlights how public ledgers can be effectively used in health data, finance, public projects, and real estate.
Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction in 25 Steps by Daniel Drescher
Ideal for non-technical readers, this book plays between simple technical and business-focused explanations of Blockchain using 25 steps. You will be taught the essential Blockchain format and underlying technology components and their purpose. The authors dive into the limitations of the technology, why they exist, and ways to overcome this.
Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Is Changing the World by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
We know Blockchain from Bitcoin and other digital currencies. These two authors explore the potential of the technology beyond the currency. They further discuss the potential of the technology such as recording virtually everything of value from land titles to certificates. If you want to discover how the technology will dramatically improve healthcare, insurance claims, and artist royalty payment among other areas, this book is for you.
Blockchain technology is already proving its worth beyond cryptocurrency. We are looking at a future where the technology will have more mainstream applications in our business, Government, and personal lives. Through platforms such as Kotani Pay, we see transaction costs become lower making cross-border transactions affordable, all while catering to those without the Internet and still ensuring security. This is the kind of impact Blockchain technology has; infiltrating even the marginalized and under-priviledged. We now must educate ourselves to make informed decisions and be part of this great phenomenon.