I've been around tech for more than 30 years and consider myself pretty literate in all things digital. However every once in awhile an innovation turns up that stretches my aged grey matter. I'll confess, blockchain is one such topic that had me scratching my head for awhile.
It's a technology that's hard to grasp conceptually. Wikipedia defines it as: "a decentralized and distributed digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network."
Wow -- ok. What the heck does this really mean? I should know but having read around the topic in recent months, I'm struck by how badly the tech world is communicating the benefits and meaning of this exciting technology. The prose is littered with jargon and deep tech talk. It's a return to the bad old days of vendors building a mystique by seemingly setting out to bamboozle its audience.
Therefore to find an article that demystifies the topic in a way that my parents might have understood was a blessed relief. More pertinent is the quality of the writing by Jamie Skella of Horizon State - a blockchain based voting and decision-making platform. It's a great example of how vendors can reach out to a wider audience by explaining in simple terms the application and benefits of the technology.
It's a simple lesson but one which I would suggest the growing ranks of blockchain vendors would do well to learn. Keep things simple, explain the benefits and move away from the jargon. Do that, and the understanding around blockchain will increase with the consequence that acceptance and uptake will grow as applications hit the market.
It's happening in an increasingly frequent manner: "Jamie, explain this blockchain stuff to me. I've read a bunch of articles and I'm no wiser." The problem with most blockchain explainers is that they provide more detail than what matters to most people, using language that is foreign to most people, which winds up leaving people more confused than when they started. Instead, without worrying about being a technically perfect description, here's an explanation of blockchain your parents could understand...