Review of the book “Platform Revolution” by Don Tapscott

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The enterprise blockchain began to take shape in 2016, at a time when companies like IBM began to leverage private networks for supply chain management. It was also in 2016 that author Don Tapscott wrote and published Blockchain revolution, a book that examines how blockchain will transform a number of industries.

Following the release of Blockchain revolution, Tapscott – who is also a co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute – published Supply chain revolution in August 2020. Given the publication schedule of the book, Supply chain revolution detailed how the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed issues in supply chains across the world, explaining in more detail how blockchain could be used to address these challenges.

Almost a year after the release of Supply chain revolution, Tapscott published his latest book, Platform revolution. Unlike his other two books which explain what blockchain is and how it can be applied to advance certain industries, Platform revolution goes a step further, taking the thesis that the blockchain has achieved “platform status”.

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

“There are many new technologies in the second era of the digital age, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things. Ultimately, the biggest of these technologies is blockchain, which “diverges” with all of these other technologies. “

Understanding the trivergence of blockchain technology

Tapscott explains throughout the eight chapters of Platform revolution how businesses, supply chains and sectors of the economy rely on blockchain as a platform to make further progress.

In order to describe the trivergence of blockchain with AI, machine learning, and IoT, Chapter 1 of Platform revolution discusses how blockchain can secure the future of the digital age. In short, this chapter talks about digital conglomerates like Facebook (now Meta) and Google, noting that these entities act as owners of user data. “We create the data and these companies collect it. We are then left with next to nothing – we cannot monetize our data or secure that data because our privacy is compromised, ”said Tapscott.

To resolve this ongoing dilemma, Chapter 1 discusses how open access, equitable participation, and sovereign identity on a blockchain network can improve web access. In particular, the chapter focuses on how blockchain can solve the problem of manipulation, promote fairness, protect the rights of content creators and more. While that may be the case, Chapter 1 also explains 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 process 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 may trump all other assets, given the idea that digital conglomerates have privately stored user data for years. Yet, thanks to encryption technologies such as those found in blockchain networks, new rights to data privacy and ownership could very well be obtained.

Related: Don Tapscott’s Collaborative ‘Supply Chain Revolution’ Book Review

Chapter 3 is an important section of Platform revolution, as Tapscott and his co-author Anjan Vinod take an in-depth look at the relationship between blockchain and AI. According to Tapscott and Vinod, AI is making blockchain one of the biggest technological revolutions of all time. This chapter explains how blockchain can provide decentralized infrastructure for the entire AI ecosystem. For example, it is noted here that a decentralized blockchain-based solution can guarantee a more democratized, yet secure, way to transmit the data required for AI models.

Chapter 4 further focuses on blockchain and IoT, noting that connected devices will require a ledger to learn and adapt to new things. “This is where the rubber meets the blockchain road,” Tapscott writes. Although implementation challenges such as quantum computing are also mentioned throughout Chapter 4, this section ultimately describes Web 3.0 as running in a distributed cloud, with a combination of decentralized public and private servers with advanced computing capabilities.

The threat of quantum computing

While the impact of blockchain on autonomous vehicles is discussed in Chapters 5 and 6, ensuring that Web 3.0 remains distributed and quanta-proof is detailed in Chapters 7 and 8 of Platform revolution. In particular, the quantum threat to the cybersecurity of global computer systems is analyzed.

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

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

Chapter 8 author Christian Keil details the different layers of the blockchain technology stack in detail, concluding that stakeholder involvement and the power of network effects are necessary for standards development. “The blockchain community needs a standard like OSI, with which cataloging, organizing and communicating advancements in this new technology could be greatly facilitated,” Keil writes.

How blockchain relates to other technologies

Platform revolution concludes with the idea that blockchain is still in its early stages and its success will depend on how the current challenges and opportunities are managed for its development. While it’s hard to predict the future, Tapscott mentioned that the goal behind Platform revolution is to help people understand how blockchain integrates with other technologies:

“This book introduces the concept of trivergence, while explaining the relationship between blockchain, AI, IoT, big data and quantum computing. These are all subjects that people find difficult to understand.

This in mind, Platform revolution is a must read for those curious about technologies of the second age of the digital age. For example, while some may only be familiar with traditional concepts like AI, Platform revolution explains the relationship between blockchain and artificial intelligence and other popular technologies.

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


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