The ever-interesting Dave Gray mentioned something called the Sideways Dictionary the other day. The Sideways Dictionary attempts to define/explain technology terms by offering analogies rather than definitions.

For example, if you look up “blockchain” on the Sideways Dictionary, you’ll (currently) start with an analogy that begins, “It’s like the minutes at a Town Hall meeting, written by two very accurate people. . . .” There are currently five blockchain analogies. Some are better than others. The one analogizing a blockchain to to a public money ledger is one that I might use. The notion of “distributed ledger system” is so essential to an understanding of blockchain.

For me, getting a good understanding takes several tries from several different directions. I read many articles on blockchain before Gwynne Monahan and I wrote our “blockchain for lawyers” article called “Lawyers Get Ready There’s a Blockchain Coming” article in January, 2017. We made a valiant attempt in the article to explain blockchain in a simple and accessible way.

When I was asked to write an article on smart contracts (essentially, blockchain applications) for lawyers, “Thinking Smartly About Smart Contracts,” I tried to improve on that explanation. You never know how successful you are.

For me, the explanation of blockchain that worked for me was in the book, The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order, by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey.

After recommending the book to others, I realized that an explanation that might be wonderful for me could be entirely opaque to someone else. I’ve sent people to podcast episodes and articles that I thought were crystal clear and had people tell me that they could not make any sense of them.

I do, however, get asked on a regular basis to point people to resources that explain “the blockchain.”

I decided to publish this post in which I have collected a bunch of useful and succinct “blockchain explainers.” My idea is to keep adding to this post as I find useful explainers. there’s no doubt that I’ve missed many good ones, so I encourage you to submit comments to this post with suggestions for additions to the list and I can add them.

My focus here is on “Blockchain 101” information, not in-depth technical discussions.

Here’s my starter list (in no particular order at the moment):

If, after that, you are ready to dig in deeper, I highly recommend that lawyers (and others) get an understanding of business aspects of blockchain. Any one of these four books should get you started:

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World, by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott

The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology, by William Mougayar

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order, by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything, by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey

Don’t be discouraged if it takes you several tries to grab hold of the concept.

If you have any other resources for the list, please let me know.

ADDITIONS TO LIST:

Symmetry Blockchain Advisors Beginner Resources (Debbie Hoffman)

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[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

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Now available:

The second edition of The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

Adriana Linares and I had the idea years ago to do a live videocast from the ABA TECHSHOW. We made that a reality a few years ago. Steve Best joined the team last year when Adriana was chairing TECHSHOW. The Legal Talk Network has always produced the shows.

The 2018 TECHSHOW Today videos are now available on YouTube at the links below:

We have great fun doing these shows, but the shows have really strong comment and important insights. We had some fabulous guests this year and I recommend all of these episodes. Start watching and let us know what you think.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

DennisKennedy.Blog is now part of the LexBlog network.

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Now available: The new second edition of The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.

My first published article of 2018 has appeared in Law Practice magazine and it’s called “Thinking Smartly About Smart Contracts.”

The editors of the magazine approached me a while back to see if I wanted to write a blockchain article that would introduce lawyers and others to the blockchain concept and its implications. I told them that I felt that the article Gwynne Monahan and I wrote last year (“Lawyers Get Ready, There’s a Blockchain Coming“) was still a good starting point. However, I said, I was willing to write an article that was a primer about “smart contracting,” which is a next big step in blockchain evolution. They liked the idea and the result is this article.

Smart contracts can be thought of as “apps” that run on blockchains and embed “if-then” logic so that certain activities occur automatically. People have been intrigued by how they might take the place of standard legal contracts in certain situations.

My article introduces the key concepts, gives some examples, and suggests ways that smart contracts might impact lawyers and the legal system.

The money quote:

Smart contracting could help people who can’t afford lawyers or in areas like online commerce where lawyer involvement in every dispute is not practical because of the amounts involved or volume. Removing commodity legal work also frees lawyers to do more creative, high-value work.

This article is my contribution to getting conversation started about blockchains and smart contracts. I’ve been very pleased by the positive reaction the article has gotten already. Let me know what you think. And check out the rest of the issue of the magazine – there are some very good articles on important topics.

 

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

DennisKennedy.Blog is now part of the LexBlog network.

View Dennis Kennedy's profile on LinkedIn

Follow my microblog on Twitter – @dkennedyblog. Follow me – @denniskennedy

Blockchain technology is a topic that interests me greatly. It also is a favorite topic of my occasional co-author, Gwynne Monahan (often better known as @econwriter5 on Twitter). We have talked off and on for a while about collaborating on an article about blockchain tech.

The timing was right a month or two ago when I was asked about writing an article for the January tech-themed article of the ABA’s Law Practice Today.

Continue Reading Lawyers Get Ready, There’s a Blockchain Coming

Blockchain technology is a topic that interests me greatly. It also is a favorite topic of my occasional co-author, Gwynne Monahan (often better known as @econwriter5 on Twitter). We have talked off and on for a while about collaborating on an article about blockchain tech.

The timing was right a month or two ago when I was asked about writing an article for the January tech-themed article of the ABA’s Law Practice Today.

Continue Reading Lawyers Get Ready, There’s a Blockchain Coming