Tech transformation: Don Tapscott’s book review “Platform Revolution”

Enterprise blockchain took shape in 2016 when companies like IBM began using private networks for supply chain management. Also in 2016, author Don Tapscott wrote and published Blockchain Revolution, a book examining how blockchain will transform a number of industries.

Following the publication of Blockchain Revolution, Tapscott – who is also a co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute – published Supply Chain Revolution in August 2020. Given the timing of the book’s publication, Supply Chain Revolution has detailed how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed disruptions in supply chains around the world and went on to explain how blockchain could be used to address these challenges.

Almost a year after Supply Chain Revolution was published, Tapscott has published his latest book, Platform Revolution. In contrast to his two other books, which explain what blockchain is and how it can be used to further develop certain industries, Platform Revolution goes one step further and advocates the thesis that blockchain has achieved “platform status”.

Specifically, Tapscott told Cointelegraph that the blockchain has matured so far over the years that companies and industries are now building new models on the blockchain as a “platform”. Additionally, Tapscott believes the blockchain has reached a “point of trivergence”, making it the greatest technology in today’s digital age:

“In today’s second era of the digital age, there are many new technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things. In the end, however, the largest of these technologies is the blockchain, which “triverges” with all of these other technologies.

Understand the trivergence of blockchain technology

In the eight chapters of the platform revolution, Tapscott explains how companies, supply chains and economic sectors are building on blockchain as a platform to achieve further progress.

To describe the trivergence of blockchain with AI, machine learning and IoT, Chapter 1 of the platform revolution discusses how blockchain can secure the future of the digital age. In short, this chapter is about digital conglomerates like Facebook (now Meta) and Google, noting that these companies act as landlords for user data. “We create the data and these companies take it away. We then have almost nothing left – we cannot monetize or secure our data as our privacy is being undermined, “said Tapscott.

To solve this ongoing dilemma, Chapter 1 explains how Open Access, fair participation, and self-sovereign identity in a blockchain network can improve web access. The chapter specifically focuses on how blockchain can solve the problem of manipulation, promote fairness, protect the rights of content creators, and more. This may be so, but Chapter 1 also describes why the trivergence of blockchain, AI and IoT will ultimately lead to Web 3.0. This is described as a network where billions of people, devices, and decentralized autonomous organizations or DAOs will be able to manipulate and analyze data for better decision making.

The second chapter of the book examines the impact of blockchain on big data. “Big Data” is characterized here as a new asset class that can trump all other assets, since digital corporations have been storing user data privately for years. Encryption technologies such as those found in blockchain networks could very well achieve new data protection rights and property rights to data.

See Also: Book Review of Don Tapscott’s Collaborative “Supply Chain Revolution”

Chapter 3 is an important chapter in the platform revolution as Tapscott and his co-author Anjan Vinod thoroughly examine the relationship between blockchain and AI. According to Tapscott and Vinod, AI is making blockchain one of the most comprehensive technological revolutions of all time. This chapter explains how blockchain can provide decentralized infrastructure for the entire AI ecosystem. It is noted here, for example, that a decentralized blockchain-based solution can ensure a more democratized yet more secure method of transferring data that is required for AI models.

Chapter 4 continues to focus on blockchain and IoT, noting that connected devices need a ledger in order to learn and adapt to new things. “This is where the rubber meets the blockchain,” writes Tapscott. While Chapter 4 also mentions implementation challenges such as quantum computing, this section ultimately describes Web 3.0 as running in a distributed cloud, with a combination of decentralized public and private servers with edge computing capabilities.

The threat posed by quantum computers

While the effects of the blockchain on autonomous vehicles are discussed in Chapters 5 and 6, Chapters 7 and 8 of Platform Revolution describe in detail whether Web 3.0 remains distributed and quantum secure. In particular, the quantum threat to cybersecurity of global IT systems is analyzed.

For example, Chapter 7 says: “The chance that a quantum computer will be commercially available by 2026 is one in seven”. Chapter 8, in turn, underlines the need for governance of standards development on three levels: protocol, application and ecosystem.

Related: ‘Blockland’ Book Review: Part Gonzo, Part Bitcoin Thriller, 100% Recommended

Chapter 8 author Christian Keil goes into detail about the various layers of the blockchain technology stack and concludes that stakeholder involvement and the power of network effects are required for standards development. “The blockchain community needs a standard like OSI that could make cataloging, organizing and communicating advances in this new technology much easier,” writes Keil.

How blockchain relates to other technologies

Platform Revolution concludes with the idea that the blockchain is still in its early stages and its success depends on how well the current challenges and opportunities for its development are dealt with. While it’s difficult to predict the future, Tapscott mentioned that the goal of the platform revolution is to help people understand the way blockchain fits into other technologies:

“This book introduces the concept of trivergence and at the same time explains the relationship between blockchain, AI, IoT, big data and quantum computing. These are all topics that people find difficult to understand. ”

With this in mind, Platform Revolution is a must for anyone interested in the technologies of the second era of the digital age. While some may only be familiar with mainstream concepts like AI, Platform Revolution explains how blockchain relates to artificial intelligence and other popular technologies.

The book further underscores why blockchain will continue to serve as the backbone for industries, economies, supply chains, and other aspects of our lives. “These are all big technologies that everyone is talking about. Platform Revolution explains how they fit together and why blockchain is central to everything, ”added Tapscott.

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