Blockchain Basics for Program Managers

Tuesday September 24, 2019

•  bitcoin •  blockchain •  computer science •  cybersecurity • 

During the last few years, blockchain has sucked a lot of air out of the room with respect to security and systems design. Among other things I have heard include blockchain will cure world hunger, blockchain is the future of colleges, and something about blockchain is the future of Social Security. All of this, and a lot more nonsense can be found here:

The Ten Most Ridiculous Things "On the Blockchain"

When you put a thing "on the blockchain," you're not actually putting it "on the blockchain." Nothing is "on the blockchain." The "blockchain" doesn't exist. Instead, what you're really doing is "notarizing information about a thing using a database distributed across a network of nodes, which is sometimes called a blockchain."

Blockchain will not cure cancer and it will not do your laundry. But that does not mean it does not have some uses. For government IT managers, understanding what blockchain is, how it works, and what its role in the data storage ecosystem is critical for evaluating enterprise architectures and proposals for new systems. Accordingly, at JHU/APL, we worked with DHS to develop a white paper to do exactly that and I am quite happy to say it was published in the Journal of Information Technology Management, last night.

The most fun part of this is figure 2. DHS shared our flowchart with NIST and they put it in NISTR 8202, and they put it everywhere!

nist blockchain flowchart - Google Search

blockchain; consensus model; cryptocurrency; cryptographic hash function; ... has been investigating blockchain technology and has created a flowchart to help ...

Anyway, you can read the paper in the latest issue of JITM, here:



It is aimed at government managers, but, really, every IT manager should read it!