Reading the title, most readers would have immediately felt that this article will be one more of the plethora of articles and presentations on Blockchain 101, so ubiquitously available on the Internet.
Well, I spent a good part of a month reading almost all the white papers, presentations, research articles and watching YouTube videos on Blockchain. I even gathered most of the infographics on the subject in one place. To ensure I was not forgetting what I was learning, I began creating presentations on various aspects of blockchains. I thought I was beginning to slowly absorb what blockchain is, how blockchains work, what are Smart Contracts, challenges before blockchain adoption, real-world use cases in various sectors, and so on. From Gartner to PWC to Deloitte to IBM to Hitachi to Fujitsu to you name it–I have read all their advisories and their research analyses.
You Learn By Doing
But, my curiosity was not satiated. The researcher in me felt that I had a respectable bibliography in place; but the student in me sensed there was something missing. The proof of the pudding is in its eating, as an old cliche goes. Then is when I started looking for sites where I could actually see a blockchain at work, where I could create a block myself. Fortunately there are some excellent tutorials and proofs of concept where one can actually create a block, modify a block, add a peer, submit a document to create a Proof-of-Existence of a file, and so on, and see the actual affect. This is when the real understanding began. Seymour Papert had rightly said: you don’t learn by being told, you learn by doing. (I first read him some 30 years ago when I was introducing LOGO to school children in Bangalore)
I’m not sure if going through the demos should have been the first thing I must have done, or reading up background stuff on the concepts. In any case, for those who are in the same predicament as I was in, let me share the URLs of some of the demo sites I am presently benefiting from:
Please send me your own favourite blockchain demo and PoC sites.