I just gave my first talk about blockchain at Node Interactive Europe. Special thanks to the folks at the Node Foundation for reaching out and inviting me to speak.

Preparing for this presentation helped me describe exactly what I’ve been up to all summer. Learning about the blockchain and building blockchain applications, has occupied much of my free time. If you are curious, you can find the slides here.

Highlights of Presentation

The goal of this presentation was to introduce people to blockchain and show them the tools they need to create their own blockchain applications. A blockchain is like a cross between a database and peer-to-peer torrent client(a rough comparison). Blockchains store information, but they don’t have a central person or institution controlling this data store.

What is appealing about blockchains is that they are immutable. It is like a datastore that doesn’t have the CRUD operation DELETE. Blockchains also enable people to send money and data to each other without going through a third party (like Western Union). This feature is especially important for people living in countries that have an inefficient banking system and/or government.

The dream of the blockchain is to create a world that is more accountable and to diminish the importance of the middle man.

During my talk I spent less time talking about the social implications of the blockchain and more about the blockchain’s technical features. In those twenty minutes I

  1. Distinguished the difference between blockchain and bitcoin.
  2. Introduced the Ethereum Blockchain and instructions on how to create a private blockchain.
  3. Demonstrated how one can get started developing applications on the blockchain.

The presentation was ok. I was hoping that the audience would share their experiences with blockchains, but that didn’t happen. I wasn’t sure if it was because they haven’t worked with blockchains or if they were under an NDA.

I felt satisfied that I took my first step in attempting to explain what is blockchain, and why it is shaping up to be such an important technology. I do hope in time that I will find a friendly band of blockchain developers with whom I can compare notes with.

Node Interactive Conference

This is my second JavaScript conference and the talks were very good. My favorite presentation was by Rachel on JavaScript and microcontrollers. She reminded me how awesome it is to create quirky, artisanal hardware. I highly suggest that you check out her Robokitty repo!