“Blockchainopoly: How Blockchain Changes the Rules of the Game”, by Steve Hoberman, Technics Publications, 2018
This book is designed to organize your mind about what Blockchain is, what it can be used for, and what the issues are in dealing with it. And Steve H. succeeds wonderfully well in bringing home all the important messages, without making your head feel buzzing or tired. Extremely well done. Add to that very straight-forward language, nice drawings (cartoons), made for the book. Nice and sympathetic. To be recommended!
Blockchainopoly is a fresh perspective on the much hyped Blockchain technology and the paradigms, it is based on. In a way Blockchain is a “database”, but it is also protocols and applications. This puts it in the much wider universe of data management. The author is one of the world’s best data modelers and communicators about all things data. His approach is very correct and makes the whole thing very easy to grasp.
First Steve H. walks us through the background and the context of blockchain and related technologies. Blockchain is like a Monopoly game without a banker, hence the name “blockchainopoly”. It is a major gamechanger of the decade. Getting the right information to the right people at the right time, but now without relying on a central power authority; enabling you to create an “Immutable shared ledger”.
Optional: (Yes, just like in ledgers there is “debit” and “credit” on transactions, but not CRUD, only Create and Read a lot of time-stamped “accounts”). Steve H. does a fine communicative job of explaining concepts such as “public keys”, derived from private keys using a secret code + various hashing schemes. Hashing chains the blocks together across record-keepers agreeing on the protocol (e.g. Bitcoin). And you can build “smart contracts” on top. The top layer is the application, for example the currency application called Bitcoin. End of optional.
After having thoroughly educated the reader in the What and the How, Steve H. examines the Why of using Blockchain. He builds a structured set of possible requirement patterns. These are then combined with all major industries, which end up giving you a number of relevant use cases across many sectors.
Finally, this excellent book relates Blockchain to the well-established data management practices described in the DAMA body of knowledge handbook called DMBOK 2. 11 disciplines from the DMBOK apply to Blockchain. Since Blockchain cuts down on the “central authority” there is more data management and data governance to handle. Cross-organizational is one thing. Rules of smart contracts is another example that needs governance.
Optional: The author, again demonstrating world class pedagogical skills, points out a number of other issues / challenges, such as data architecture, keys, data model representations, performance design, fraud, migration, structured and unstructured data, Blockchain as a data warehouse and more. All of these issues need to be dealt with in structured manners, just as the DAMA BOK does it for the world of data before Blockchain. End of optional.
I am only missing a visual representation of Blockchain data models. Allow me to propose that a graph data model representation will be just fine! ☺
Conclusion: Concepts and principles first, Blockchain is not just technology. Data management and governance matter.
Thomas Frisendal, April 2018