Understanding blockchain: Tutorial for CIOs

Last updated:October 2016

Editor's note

Blockchain technology -- which underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies -- could change the nature of financial and other types of transactions. And an ecosystem is quickly developing around blockchain: Startups in this space are raking in venture capital money, global consultancies are developing practices around it, big vendors like IBM and Microsoft are positioning themselves to lead the tech industry in blockchain products and services, and IT organizations are developing proofs of concept and field trials. 

While stories of the benefits of blockchain abound in the press, the technology carries with it processing overhead that may make its use impractical in many scenarios, and it brings along many uncertainties in terms of scalability, integration, cultural adoption, privacy, security and regulatory status. IT leaders will be -- or already are -- tasked with determining whether blockchain offers their companies cost savings, productivity efficiencies or competitive advantage. Answering that question will require, at the very least, a thorough understanding of how the technology works, proposals of where the technology might be used and then a discerning eye toward whether blockchain is the right technology, or whether something simpler would suffice.

In this SearchCIO blockchain tutorial, we help CIOs and IT executives get started on the discovery process of understanding blockchain.

1Reasons to consider blockchain implementation

Blockchain technology is expected to be used in a variety of industries and for a variety of reasons. In this section, flip through a SearchCIO photo story and content from other TechTarget sites.

2Implementation road blocks: Security and immaturity

Whenever a new technology comes along, the technology community is often faced with difficult questions about potential problems. Blockchain is no different. The technology is immature, and there is uncertainty regarding integration, cultural adoption, privacy, security and regulatory status. Find out more in this section of the blockchain tutorial.

3Where, how blockchain could be put into practice

As blockchain technology evolves, so does its list of use cases. In the final section of this blockchain tutorial, read coverage from SearchCIO and other TechTarget sites about where the technology does and doesn't make sense.

4Key terms to know

Review commonly encountered terminology to gain a better understanding of blockchain technology.