Multidisciplinary Aspects of Blockchain is a different book on a fundamental digital technology under development and published in Dutch (hardcopy) and English (eBook) as part of a series by the Royal Dutch Society for Computer and Information Professionals.
Blockchain, which reportedly changes society as the ultimate disruptor, is the most important invention after the introduction of the World Wide Web of Internet. Blockchain is a collective term for digital databases, which are distributed, mathematically-protected and chronological in nature.
At least in theory, the technology has the ability to overcome a broad problem: a lack of confidence in digital systems. At the same time, blockchains can initiate new business and process models, because the technology unlocks different ways of organizing, thanks to the immutable registration of traceable data without the intervention of a trusted third party. Money matters without a bank.
The new book – edited by Natascha van Duuren and Victor de Pous, who also wrote chapters on digital regulation and smart contracts – focuses for the first time on societal, technical and legal aspects of this peer-to-peer database technology.
An information technology that creates trust and puts an end to bureaucracy seems a valuable but unlikely proposition. Blockchain applications exist and range from the 1600+ virtual currencies to the step-by-step registration of transactions in supply chains. But that is only the beginning. At this time ranks do not close. Some are hesitant and want to see first before believing that blockchain manifests itself as a true game changer, just as the Internet, smart phones and cloud computing turned out to be earlier.
Even pragmatists, however, do not seem to turn against blockchain technology as such. In fact, virtually everyone — executive officers, lawmakers and politicians — are keeping the door open for the very potential of this high-profile technology. While the Dutch central bank (De Nederlandsche Bank) does not consider virtual currencies (fit) to be money, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was the first European airport to install a crypto ATM, so that passengers can exchange their remaining euros for bitcoins or etherium, and vice versa.
What makes this book special and distinguishes it from other publications on blockchain is the multidisciplinary — societal, technical and legal — approach indeed. This way, everyone who needs a broader and more comprehensive understanding of the technology can benefit.
The English version is available for free, licensed under a CC-licence, and can be downloaded here.