Blockchain, bitcoin, ethereum, crypto, digital wallets, fintech – from obscure tech blogs to mainstream media, suddenly, everyone has something to say about the impending future of the financial system. Is it all hype? Buzzwords? A bubble? What if we told you that this technology might restructure the entire fabric of the internet – and society itself?
First, let’s take a step back. In the current cryptocurrency frenzy, terms tend to blend together, obscuring their meanings and utilities in the process. Blockchain and Bitcoin are not the same thing. Blockchain is a radical new technology, not exclusive to fintech (see more, below), but perhaps most well-known currently as the technological basis of the cryptocurrency movement. Cryptocurrency refers to a digital assets that can be traded over the blockchain network using a digital wallet, such as Coinbase or, soon, Robinhood; you’ve probably heard of Bitcoin, the most famous, but not the only cryptocurrency out there right now (Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple are others, to name a few).
The technology itself has been around for nearly a decade (Bitcoin was first introduced in 2009), however, it was only during the last year that the vocabulary of cryptocurrency – and, thus, of blockchain – really entered the mainstream. This piece, published earlier this month in the New York Times Magazine, particularly generated a lot of conversation amongst MassTLC members last week. It provides a great overview of the past, present, and potential future of blockchain technology, from how it came to be to how it works today.
That started us thinking: whether you are a fintech veteran who has been following the evolution of blockchain from Day 1 or a complete newbie to the industry, chances are, the blockchain is going to affect you, your job, your business, or your life in some way in the not-so-distant-future. As such, you’ll want to stay informed.
To help you do exactly that, we compiled a list of resources, our own blockchain and fintech primer for 2018. Wherever you are in your blockchain understanding, we have something for you to add to your reading lists:
Overviews of blockchain, what is it, how it works, and how it will shape the future:
- Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble – The New York Times Magazine
- What is Blockchain? – Maize, by H-FARM
- Understand the Fundamentals of Blockchain – IBM
Overviews of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency:
- Bitcoin for idiots: An introductory guide – VentureBeat
- How Bitcoin Works – Forbes
- The 6 Most Important Cryptocurrencies Other Than Bitcoin – Investopedia
An in-depth look at the foundations of Bitcoin:
- Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System – The white paper by “Satoshi Nakamoto” that launched it all
In-depth looks at the current cryptocurrency market:
- The Cryptoboom is the New Gold Rush – Maize, by H-FARM
- The Casual Bitcoin Buyer’s Guide to Investing in Cryptocurrencies – Fast Company
- The cryptocurrency bubble is strangling innovation – TechCrunch
Blockchain applications beyond fintech:
- Blockchain: a realm of possibilities – GTNews
- Global Supply Chains Are About the Get Better, Thanks to Blockchain – Harvard Business Review
- How Blockchain is Redefining the Rules of Supply Chain – BOSS Magazine
- Imogen Heap wants to use blockchain technology to revolutionize the music industry – Quartz
- The blockchain brand: hard coding brand promises – Chief Marketing Technologist Blog
- The future of our trust in food: Tracking meat on the blockchain – Provenance News
- This company wants to make the fashion industry sustainable using blockchain – Eco-Business
2018 fintech and blockchain trend forecasting:
- Fintech Trends to Watch in 2018 – CBINSIGHTS
- AI, Big Data, Digitisation, Blockchain: The fintech that will dominate 2018 – bob’s guide
- Look out for more millennial buyers of cryptocurrency now that it’s free to purchase – Recode
We hope this comprehensive list gives you somewhere to start. The blockchain conversation is only beginning, and we can’t wait to continue it here with you.