IBM Introduces The Blockchain Game to Help Non-Tech People Understand Distributed Ledger Tech
Blockchain is a technology that can be completely revitalized various disparate fields such as supply-chain management, accounting, and contract law among many, many others.
IBM, as well as most in the know and on the go, know the usefulness and disruptive influence of blockchain can only really help a company if normal, average non-tech minded leaders fully understand it.
That presents a problem, as it is quite difficult to understand unless there is some technical background in your past and IBM looks to educate those interested or at bare minimum entertained by distributed ledger technology.
The Blockchain Game Solves this Problem
The Blockchain Game is a tool that has been created specifically to allow students in non-technical fields to work through blockchain basics in a very hands-on way. The students act as nodes in the network, and as miners for that matter. The network is used to store students grades on a blockchain.
The students then record grades and course information using that information to build a block. They build the actual block by calculating a unique identifier (which is analogous to a real-world hash) so that they are able to secure the grades ledger. The miners are then rewarded for their work.
The game is played, ironically enough, without computers. The participants of the game are the computers as they calculate the blocks. The game is made for distributed ledger technology and can be adapted by the educator in charge to showcase the power of Distributed Ledger technology (vs regular databases) in any way they see fit.
It could be used to showcase how smart contracts work, how blockchain can be adapted to supply chain management, how decentralized apps work and many other use cases.
The concepts that are taught by the game are many-fold. It easily shows people in a social setting exactly how a distributed ledger works by allowing everyone (every node) to hold a complete ledger. There is no centralized authority with the ledger. It can show how a ledger can be anonymous and public at the same time – showing a crucial aspect of distributed ledger technology.
It also shows how append-only ledgering works. That each entry is linked to the previous entry via some math, ie: blocks and hashes. It also rewards those who perform calculations much like miners are rewarded with blocks of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies when they mine it.
It also showcases how difficult it is to attack a ledger due to the need to gather 51% of the “compute power” needed to change the ledger itself.
The game and all its resources can be found at this link, while the creator can be reached on his Twitter. He encourages people to get a hold of him to continue educating more and more people about distributed ledger technology.
Is this really important?
Some people have asked whether this is really an important step. Many liken blockchain to the internet of the 90s, and that became popular even though the vast majority of people never knew how the internet worked.
Most people still don't know how the internet truly works, nor do they know how to code a website. Yet everyone uses the internet in some form or another in their daily lives.
Many simply think there needs to be a “killer app” that will give blockchain the push it needs to become a part of the social consciousness much the internet was promoted. The early days of the internet focused on having an interesting conversation with experts from around the world.
It focused on having an entire encyclopedia's worth of information, without the horrifically high cost associated with buying an entire collection. Others believe that this kind of education is best kept as an introductory course in college that should be mandatory for the next decade or so. It would help with future leaders knowing the basics of blockchain so that they are able to integrate it into their thinking from an early age.
There is no right answer when it comes to education, all that can be said is there is a pressing need to show business leaders why blockchain technology and decentralization are so crucial to their businesses.
Many remember the early days of the internet and trying to convince some business owners that they needed a website. Today that seems like a no-brainer. Back then it wasn't. The education the businesses received was from the media. It was from seeing people who used their product due to the influence of the internet.
Can blockchain leverage the same techniques as the early internet, despite having a more enterprise-focused use case?