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.
1What and why-
What blockchain is, and why CIOs should care
Industry experts say blockchain technology could alter the very nature of financial and other types of transactions. In the first section of this blockchain tutorial, learn how the technology works, what's involved in implementation and how CIOs and other C-level execs will become involved.
2Blockchain benefits and trends-
Reasons 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.
Software developers have plenty to learn from the manner in which Bitcoins are processed, mined, verified and validated. This report from TheServerSide's Cameron McKenzie explains why. Continue Reading
Implementation 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.
Some experts are urging CIOs to hold off on blockchain and to look first to existing technology to solve problems. Find out why. Continue Reading
Earlier this year a congressional subcommittee heard testimony about blockchain and had a lot of questions about the risk it presents. Continue Reading
Along with all of the blockchain hype, there have been a lot of questions -- particularly around securing the technology. Read our feature story over on SearchCompliance. Continue Reading
Visit SearchCIO's TotalCIO blog for Sue Troy's reporting from the DC Blockchain Summit in Washington, D.C. Continue Reading
The very nature of blockchain technology and how it works has raised concerns about digital identity and privacy. Read more reporting from the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium blockchain panel session. Continue Reading
4Blockchain use cases-
Where, 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.
Companies interested in blockchain need to carefully consider where the technology does -- or doesn't -- make sense. Read what experts had to say about its use in the supply chain in this SearchCIO feature. Continue Reading
Editorial director Sue Troy talked to expert Alec Ross about blockchain's implication in the legal space. In this feature, Ross predicts blockchain technology will remove an "enormous amount of friction" from legal processes. Continue Reading
Expert Pam Baker provides an in-depth look at the realities of using blockchain for improving recruitment and other HR processes. Continue Reading
Key terms to know
Review commonly encountered terminology to gain a better understanding of blockchain technology.