Blockchain Concepts – Map and Territory

I am in a group of “blockchain enthusiasts” and we started to talk about “levels” regarding knowledge of blockchain matters, so obviously I started to think about what those “levels” are. One approach is to depict the landscape in as much detail as possible and sort it there.

Here is a Mind Map for the ones that process information visually (there are other preferences). I used FreeMind (this is not an endorsement) and produced something to share. I took advantage of the MindMap interactivity and added all sorts of links and notes, but unfortunately it only works on the mapping software. So in lieu of that here is a PNG (poor substitute for the real thing).

Basically, I divided the knowledge landscape as follows:

  •  Level 0 “The root cause”. The blockchain came from somewhere, and knowing those can add valuable context. A lot of things needed to happen for the blockchain to “suddenly manifest”. Most of the stuff  is optional with exception of some basic knowledge of how public key cryptography works. Here is a tall tale on “the origins”. There is also this documentary “Banking on Bitcoin” which also leads to the a tale on the Cypherpunks.


  • Level 1 “The Thing”. This describes what the blockchain is as a technical artifact platform-of-sorts, including its attributes and properties.  This is the level we talk about when discussing “leveling up”. This is the “propeller heads” stuff. Note: for “distributed systems” maximalists: don’t get upset about “data storage” and just ignore that so you can be happier.


  • Level 2 “What it can do”. Is all about applications, disruptions and impacts. It deceptively seem easier than L1, but knowing what a thing is can be much easier than finding a novel use for it. The later requires imagination, vision and a bit of lunacy. As someone said “is hard to come up with an original problem, and for those with a new solution”.


I am personally stuck on L1, doing my best to have some not-so-crazy ideas on what the blockchain can do (and graduate to L2). Note I did not include the practical stuff, such as technical implementations (the systems administrator work). I am currently undergoing training on Hyperledger and also Ethereum Smart Contracts (good luck to me!).

I also need to update this thing as time changes everything (hopefully not a lot). I will not update the Ecosystem as that is by now a hopeless task, and someone is doing a better job than I could ever do anyhow.


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