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The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology

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The definitive pioneering blueprint covering the what, why and how of the blockchain.

Blockchains are new technology layers that rewire the Internet and threaten to side-step older legacy constructs and centrally served businesses. At its core, a blockchain injects trust into the network, cutting off some intermediaries from serving that function and creatively disrupting how they operate. Metaphorically, blockchains are the ultimate non-stop computers. Once launched, they never go down, and offer an incredible amount of resiliency, making them dependable and attractive for running a new generation of decentralized services and software applications.

The Business Blockchain charts new territory in advancing our understanding of the blockchain by unpacking its elements like no other before. William Mougayar anticipates a future that consists of thousands, if not millions of blockchains that will enable not only frictionless value exchange, but also a new flow of value, redefining roles, relationships, power and governance. In this book, Mougayar makes two other strategic assertions. First, the blockchain has polymorphic characteristics; its application will result in a multiplicity of effects. Second, we shouldn't ask ourselves what problems the blockchain solves, because that gives us a narrow view on its potential. Rather, we should imagine new opportunities, and tackle even more ambitious problems that cross organizational, regulatory and mental boundaries.

Drawing on 34 years of technology industry experience as an executive, analyst, consultant, entrepreneur, startup mentor, author, blogger, educator, thought leader and investor, William Mougayar describes a future that is influenced by fundamental shifts brought by blockchain technology as the catalyst for change. William Mougayar has been described as the most sophisticated blockchain business thinker. He is a blockchain industry insider whose work has already shaped and influenced the understanding of blockchain for people around the world, via his generous blogging and rigorous research insights. He is a direct participant in the crypto-technology market, working alongside startups, entrepreneurs, pioneers, leaders, innovators, creators, enterprise executives and practitioners; in addition to being an investor, advisor, and board member in some of the leading organizations in this space, such as the Ethereum Foundation, OpenBazaar and Coin Center.

Just as the Internet created new possibilities that we didn't foresee in its early years, the blockchain will give rise to new business models and ideas that may still be invisible. Following an engaging Foreword by Vitalik Buterin, this book is organized along these 7 chapters:

1. What is the Blockchain?

2. How Blockchain Trust Infiltrates

3. Obstacles, Challenges & Mental Blocks

4. Blockchain in Financial Services

5. Lighthouse Industries & New Intermediaries

6. Implementing Blockchain Technology

7. Decentralization as the Way Forward

The Business Blockchain is an invitation for technologists to better understand the business potential of the blockchain, and for business minded people to grasp the many facets of blockchain technology. This book teaches you how to think about the blockchain.

208 pages, ebook

First published April 1, 2016

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William Mougayar

4 books13 followers

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5 stars
135 (15%)
4 stars
288 (32%)
3 stars
318 (36%)
2 stars
106 (12%)
1 star
27 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews
Profile Image for Clayton.
10 reviews2 followers
December 27, 2017
I was probably the intended audience for this book. I have a fairly strong technical background, but I do not directly work in IT. I was interested in how the blockchain could change existing business practices and excited to learn about what innovations the blockchain could make possible. I picked up this book because I wanted to get an overview of what the blockchain is and what I can do with it. Looking at the back cover I was promised, "The definitive pioneering blueprint covering the what, why, and how of the blockchain."

Having completed this book, I feel myself further from these answers than when I started. I feel more confused about what the blockchain actually is and less convinced that it's useful for anything outside hyperbole. I found the book to be vacuous and at times patronizing. With every chapter, I felt like the author was less and less concerned with telling me anything useful and more obsessed with ensuring that I had bought into the blockchain craze. Each paragraph seemed to be aimed at reminding me that "this is the future and if you don't get that you're stupid."

There was far too much metadiscourse. At one point (halfway through) the author indicated that educating people about the blockchain was his motivation for writing this book. Unfortunately, even then I knew he had already failed. Sentences like "Strategic means that it needs to find strategic uses that can give you a competitive advantage." (pg 136) pervade. If you walk away feeling like you've learned anything, I would challenge you to write down a list of what you've actually learned and then add citations to the page numbers where the author actually said these things. I believe an honest effort at this exercise will convince even the most enthusiastic reader that they got far less out of this book than they wanted.
Profile Image for Jeanne Boyarsky.
Author 30 books67 followers
October 23, 2016
This is the second book I've read on the blockchain. I like this one far better! My problem with the other book is that it had so much vision that it felt like sci fi. This book feels like nearer future. It describes how we get there. It describes core concepts that exist now.

Chapter 1 starts with "Pay close attention. This chapter is probably the most important in the book." Lest you were wondering whether chapter 1 is fluff! The theory/assertion that blockchain will be a layer of the internet like the web is resonates through the book. There are a good number of lists of properties and important points to consider. I really liked the ATOMIC acronym to remember assets, trust, ownership, money, identity and contracts. And I learned a new term - DAO (distributed autonomous organization.) Each chapter ends with "key ideas." I found these to be vague so not that useful for a future review.

I particularly liked that this book can be appreciated by different audiences. While it isn't a code level book, I got a ton out of it as a developer. The number of Java developers vs overall developers (a good percentage) compared to the number with blockchain skills (tiny) was interesting.

I give this book 9 out of 10 horseshoes.
Profile Image for Conrad Zero.
Author 3 books135 followers
October 29, 2017
Blockchain for CEO Dummies.

A business-level look at blockchain technology. Intended more for corp C-level (including startups, and a special focus on the financial industry) this is a good book to start envisioning the journey of decentralization and implementation of blockchain tech. If you think web and databases are good business tools, and if you know nothing about blockchain, then this is your book. Not sure how much value this will have outside the target market (as the other reviews here can attest.)

Chapter 1 "What is the Blockchain?" is light on the actual tech of how blockchain works, which is a shame, since that is the 'Trust' part of blockchain that is emphasized, not only in the remainder of this book, but by blockchain evangelists everywhere. Without a clear understanding of why anyone can/should trust it, the rest of the book is built on soft ground.

Plenty of buzz, hype and speculation, as you would expect. But also, a lot of questions that should be asked about this fledgling technology. William emphasizes over and over the need for creativity and vision, not simply porting your old business onto a new format. I particularly liked the idea of the "Blockchain Czar," (think DBA+CIO, but for blockchain instead of databases)

The Business Blockchain is the Executive Summary version of blockchain for C-levels, startups (maybe investors) and especially for the financial sector.
Profile Image for Arno Mosikyan.
342 reviews22 followers
February 11, 2018
This book is good for those who would like to open the door of blockchain world in “blockchain for dummies” mode. I was one of those, and content was informative/new for me. Mougayar brings up quite nice definition for blockchain: public economic consensus. Blockchain is Trust 2.0, it is the decentralization of trust. Current paradigm is that trust is a fundamental function of state/government, we all have witnessed that traditional trust checking has become time consuming, costly and frictional process/service, why not the Blockchain be a solution. Why do we need the central authority to ensure central trust, if we can accomplish the same trustworthiness via a network where the trust is embedded in it?

So far Blockchain has manifested itself in the following ten revelations: 1. Cryptocurrency, 2. Decentralized computing infrastructure, 3. Transaction platform, 4. Decentralized database, 5. Shared distributed accounting ledger, 6. Software development platform, 7. Open source software, 8. Financial services marketplace, 9. Peer to peer networks, 10. Trust services layer.

Authors bring up the following seven principles that we need to believe in to license the decentralized trust:
1. Blockchain is not a disintermediation of trust, it is reintermediation of trust.
2. Trust unbundling. It challenges monopolistic position of some trust providers by challenging their authority.
3. It doesn't eliminate trust, it shifts, it moves around.
4. Trust is always needed, what changes with Blockchain, is how it is delivered and earned, whoever earns the trust earns the relationship.
5. Blockchain decentralizes trust and makes way singularly harmless, but collectively powerful entities that authenticate it.
6. Blockchain disrupts the existing economics of trust because the the cost of delivering that trust is distributed.
7. Central trust distanced us, distributes trust will bring us together.
Profile Image for Eduardo.
Author 1 book
December 24, 2017
This is a must read book for all who are seeking to know more about Blockchain technology. The author clarifies well all meanings and challenges faced by the technology as well its threats. You´ll learn different aspects and visions of how the technology can be used in a real world as well as a few predictions that can be in place in a 6 to 7 years ahead.
Profile Image for Jan.
1,055 reviews
August 1, 2017
Succinct, well-structured and enthusiastic but not without a clear eye for issues and challenges. Feels like a solid introduction to a hard to understand topic of potential major importance for future technological developments.
Profile Image for Mathijs Gast.
10 reviews
January 5, 2018
Great book that provides both a good foundation on Blockchain (and what it could mean for business) and also an interesting vision on what will come in the next decade.

Must read for anyone investing and/or interested in Blockchain tech
Profile Image for Boukman Bastia.
116 reviews21 followers
March 30, 2023
I just got done reading this on Audible for the first time,
15:57 Thuraday The 30th of March 2023

It was a quick short read, I'll have to relisten to it. I am fasting for ramadan, and I was multitasking a lot while listening to it. They won't over a lot of the pillars of the blockcgain industry.
Profile Image for Paul.
85 reviews4 followers
May 25, 2020
Self-iso bookshelf cleanse #7

A few years ago, I wrote a research paper on the blockchain and how it might be incorporated into the financial sector. Since then, I've kept up with news about blockchain and spoken with some people who specialize in it, but I am far from an expert. Needless to say, I was looking forward to this book to give me some insight into how blockchain would impact different businesses beyond the financial sector. Unfortunately, it did not really do that. Having a bit of background in the subject, I just didn't find much enlightening material in this book, outside a few ideas that gave me something to chew on. Alternatively, I also do not think this would be a good book for blockchain beginners, as it did not effectively illustrate the basics of the concept, or exactly how it would impact business. I think the problem is the author does not go into enough depth in certain areas, often reverting back to lists and diagrams rather than concrete explanations of blockchain being incorporated into businesses. Given the author's connections in this world, particularly to Ethereum, I think a case study would have been really relevant here. I agreed with a lot of the author's viewpoints, just not the delivery method.
Profile Image for Alex.
531 reviews30 followers
July 1, 2016
Mougayar illustrates a number of key ideas here in a fairly clear manner. Most of these are springboard types, without a lot of elaboration; this approach differs quite a bit from the O'Reilly "Blockchain" book which goes into greater detail on specific types of potential blockchain applications. However, Mougayar's book offers a valuable perspective from the IT world, which may ultimately have a good deal of influence in the success and spread of this kind of technology, and the frameworks that he illustrates for business IT adoption are insightful. Definitely worth the read if this is a topic of interest to you.
August 6, 2016
A remarkably good book on the business of capabilities, issues and options arising out of blockchain technology. I wish this author would publish 100 titles covering standard information and communication technologies in business contexts and from business vantage points in the way he approaches this book on the still niche technology of blockchains. This author deserves special recognition and this book should be carefully explored not only for elucidation of blockchain technology as a business phenomena but also as a model of how to explicate technology from a business perspective.
Profile Image for Wei Jun.
33 reviews1 follower
November 7, 2018
The Business Blockchain by William Mougayar. Broad informative overview what blockchain is and does, traction for adoption and practical industry uses. Mougayar’s approach of using non-technical terms and analogies to explain blockchain in as simple terms possible. Initially picked this book up having no clue what blockchain was. Found it’s contents unusable to my interest and stopped reading. Started reading it again having had more pieces of information from on blockchain. Finishing The Business Blockchain helped me to form the necessary links to the different sources of information. Like “ oh that what it meant”. Nothing of technical importance written.
History of blockchain as we see it today can be derived from advances in the field of 1) game theory, 2) cryptography science, and 3) software engineering. Fused together as the interaction between rational decision makers(nodes, party, block), hashing or encryption of inputs by each node between each entity in the blockchain ecosystem, which is in essence a code.
Would recommend to others on this book if you wish to gain a boarder understanding of what blockchain is about. Besides who wouldn’t want to know what all this hype is about!

Profile Image for Chris Esposo.
673 reviews32 followers
February 2, 2019
Pretty good overview of Blockchain as technology from a systems integrator, on the business side's perspective. The basics of blockchain are explained from a process standpoint, and the mechanics are explained through hypothetical use-cases, especially for those examples on non-financial applications, to which there are few in the current implementation.

The author emphasises the Blockchain as a general disintermediation tool, that could easily sit atop a standard DB to enable decentralized strong security for data systems several times, and this with a few other use-cases, specifically for voting and task delegating systems, that would form the backbone of a decentralized corporation are intriguing. The book is a good first step on the technology itself, introducing and defining many terms and concepts (the "atomics" as the author says, a term stolen from logic). The intro to smart contracts was also interesting. Recommended for those interested in this technology
Profile Image for R3xer.
47 reviews
June 15, 2022
I had seen a TedTalk by William Mougayar and was intrigued enough to give this book a try. The book is high on theoretical possibilities and idealistic goals but less so on practical applications, and to be fair that is what it sets out to do.

The book provides a very basic overview of what blockchain technology is (why it can revolutionize "trust"), how is can be used, and how it could shape the future. The blockchain chapters are rather basic and not too interesting for readers who are familiar with blockchain technology. The chapters on application are also a bit descriptive and not very enlightening. The chapters on future applications were highly theoretical but more interesting.

Overall, I gave the book three stars as I the author does provide some interesting points but the gist of this book was perhaps better suited to a long article.
Profile Image for Dolf van der Haven.
Author 20 books13 followers
August 29, 2018
Quite OK business perspective on Blockchain. It does not do great at explaining the technological concepts of Blockchain, but there are other books that do this well already.
There are some interesting pointers to current implementations of Blockchain other than cryptocurrencies, such as governement, enery and healthcare industries, but it is all very limited - which I suppose is the state of Blockchain at the time of writing.
Overall, the book is all quite high-level and therefore understandable, but not very impactful.
Profile Image for Edward Kuruliouk.
40 reviews13 followers
September 3, 2017
Focusing more on the future potential of the blockchain technology, rather than specifically Bitcoin, makes this one of the better books I've read on the subject. This technology is literally changing the world and you would be doing yourself a great disservice by not learning as much as you can about it now.

This book is a great place to start and gives you a good idea of the potential for change that this technology has outside of just currency.
Profile Image for Faris.
3 reviews
November 16, 2017
The Business Blockchain explained how Blockchain can influence the world from the basic to the next level.

For technical reader, it might be a little disappointing because the book didn't explain blockchain at technical level. But for non-technical reader, I recommend to read it because it explain blockchain comprehensively and easy to understand.

Overall, is like Blockchain 101 for everyone.
Profile Image for Alex Hui.
52 reviews7 followers
July 30, 2018
The book offers a solid view of the potential of blockchain business.

There is limited explanation of blockchain, thus if the readers with little knowledge of blockchain may find some parts difficult to understand.

I appreciate author's effort to lay a very sound foundation for anyone who are interested in blockchain in business sense. It's written in 2016 but many of his suggestions/concepts are still under development. I would highly recommend this book as a reference.
Profile Image for Robert Gebhardt.
Author 5 books54 followers
September 3, 2021
Dated, but pretty good in terms of foundational information. The target market here is businesses who might be persuaded to add blockchain technology to whatever they do, but it is obviously too generalized, since the use of blockchain would differ immensely from business to business.

If you are wondering if/how to use blockchain in your business, feel free to read this, then use what you learned to find something that discusses what you need more in depth.
43 reviews
January 4, 2022
This book had an amazing potential to dive much deeper with the help of an intelligent author, but falls short where it is needed. As a guide for introducing ideas you might be familiar with that you can research more on, it does a fairly good job of highlighting areas you can educate yourself more on. However, if you are like me and wanted a book to help illustrate the business applications of blockchain in-depth, this book falls short.
Profile Image for Luke Gruber.
169 reviews5 followers
March 5, 2017
The blockchain technology/topic is extremely fascinating and exciting. I've watch many videos and read many articles to further my understanding and bought this book hoping for an extensive overview. It was extremely repetitive and vague. Love the topic, but if you're looking for more info regarding blockchains, look elsewhere. Not worth the time. It was ok.
Profile Image for Yanal.
227 reviews
February 5, 2018
I listened to this on Audible, but since it's packed with information, I'm now going to read on it Kindle because I felt like I missed on valuable information. From the listening, it was helpful to see how the blockchain technology is going to revolutionize so many industries. The descriptions get technical at times, so that's why I need to read this book again.
Profile Image for Franklyn Gonzalez.
Author 1 book4 followers
February 15, 2019
A great source in exploring the uses of Blockchain and Dapps in business. Most of what I found in this book gave me insight in making use of Blockchain while making my progress in learning more about the industry.

The only takeaway I received from this book is to start following up on news articles from businesses that are using Blockchain.
Profile Image for Ali Shaheen.
10 reviews17 followers
September 18, 2017
I don't know if I have read more bs ever! The author starts with a questions, goes on a hyperbole and then somewhere else in the galaxy and then says this is the core issue to understand!! It was a torture to read this.. :/
66 reviews
September 29, 2017
Fascinating look into the business applications of blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrencies. We're on the verge of the biggest technological revolution since the internet - get on board or get out of the way.
Profile Image for Dainius Jocas.
125 reviews4 followers
December 8, 2017
I've look this book and read it from cover to cover with a hope that there will be some "aha" moments. None.

I feel that this book is written for business person, a manager that is used to reading all that marketing BS. Because I'm not in that target audience I feel a bitter taste.
Profile Image for Christopher.
63 reviews1 follower
April 27, 2018
Written with the layperson in mind, it is a clear and concise overview with some future-thinking application thrown in.

If you have a cursory knowledge of P2P networks, this will be an easy and understandable read.
2 reviews
May 13, 2019
this book make scene about block-chain in three side Technical, Business and legal. expression of book is very good and like a story and not boring. writer in this book try to say that Block-chain is a new version of internet and we must more attention to it.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews

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