Top positive review
Not a bad choice for your first book on blockchain
July 1, 2018
If you need a high-level overview on what blockchain is and how it came to be, this is a decent book. Everything it covers is listed in its lengthy title, however the bulk of text relates to blockchain, Bitcoin and Ethereum. Other topics are barely touched, but I guess it is ok since the book is meant for beginners.
Alan T. Norman’s main belief is that blockchain-related technologies will reintroduce trust into society, which is currently in a crisis. Institutions are not perceived as trustworthy, they are slow to respond, incur fees and are “a drag to economy”. Author posits, that blockchain’s algorithmic consensus may translate into frictionless agreements throughout society, should such technology be chosen to underpin payments, contracts, insurances etc. Personally I appreciate that the author is making assumptions, not axioms. Blockchain “has the potential”, but clearly is not a silver-bullet.
The book is not technical, with an exception of a single chapter on hashing, offering a glimpse at some of mathematical formulas on which blockchain implementations depend. I find it a nice addition to the otherwise very accessible text. What bothers me, though, is that sometimes the author is oversimplifying things, for example conflating “hashing” with “encrypting”.
To summarize - if you don’t know much about blockchain, you can safely read this book as a primer. Otherwise, invest in more exhaustive titles.