Blockchain education for normal people

Why I’m starting a company, why it focuses on Ethereum, and why it’s 100% free

Blockchain…beyond the marketing, beyond the hype, beyond the BS.

There’s something special there. What is it?

Blockchains are cryptographically secured digital ledg…just kidding, I wouldn’t do that to you.

On a high level, you take some computer science, sprinkle in a little cryptography, a pinch of game theory, a dash of economics and you’ve got the underpinnings of a new financial system.

The technical details are far less important than the answer to the following question:

Blockchain: what is it good for?

Simply put: it’s online banking without the banks.

Banks have always had a monopoly on financial services because it was impossible to move money around without them. Thanks to blockchain technology, that is no longer true.

Sending, lending, investing, borrowing and burrowing; all now possible to do without a bank being involved.

Just like Napster gave us open access to music, blockchains give us open access to financial services.

Just like you no longer need the post office to send a letter, you no longer need banks to send and manage money.

Blockchain is going to do to banking what Netflix did to video rentals. You still pay to watch movies, only it looks much different now. It’s faster, cheaper, and more convenient.

It’s not that weird when you think about . It’s just another chapter in the story of computers changing the world around us. *gets in self driving car*

The role of banks in our society is significant and diverse so they are unlikely to completely go away. Like how record companies run YouTube channels now.

However, banks have a monopoly on something blockbuster did not: government regulation. As you’d expect, governments care much more about money than video rentals. It will be an interesting tug of war between the technology and government control of money.

See this article from The Wall Street Journal published today that highlights my point: “The Coming Currency War: Digital Money vs. the Dollar”

With China launching a blockchain based currency and Facebook trying to launch Libra, things are going to get weird.

What’s really important though is banks are no longer the only game in town when it comes to financial services.

Think of it like an open digital Wall Street. Loans, investments, derivatives, stocks, bonds, currencies, will all fall under the umbrella of a blockchain someday.

In summary: Banks are likely to Blockbuster unless they Netflix, this time with more government.

Blockchain, Bitcoin, Ethereum… these are words I’ve heard

What’s the difference between blockchain, Bitcoin, and Ethereum?

Blockchain describes the underlying technology which powers Bitcoin and Ethereum, in the same way roller coaster technology powers Space Mountain.

Along those lines, think of blockchains like theme parks:

Bitcoin is like Coney Island. It’s old, it’s original, and there’s really only 1 major attraction. Moving bitcoins.

Ethereum is like Disney Land. There’s a whole world of attractions in the same place. Anyone is welcome to build their own roller coaster in the park. Importantly, rides can be combined with each other to take advantage of existing rides and create novel new ones.

Some quick analogies:

Bitcoin = Specific
Ethereum = General purpose

Bitcoin = Digital gold
Ethereum = Digital economy

Bitcoin = Nokia (does one thing)
Ethereum = iPhone (does many things)

Bitcoin = Network with a native currency (BTC)
Ethereum = Network with a native currency (ETH) + application platform.

Ethereum is like the internet, the infrastructure is there and anyone can build an application on top of it.

Ethereum is the internet of money.

Other blockchain platforms that claim to be the next big thing are like announcing a theme park on the moon. They sound great, but I can’t exactly take my family there on vacation.

Why Ethereum?

In the current landscape of blockchains, there is Bitcoin, Ethereum, and then there’s everything else.

Ethereum is the largest blockchain platform by nearly any metric.

I am focusing on Ethereum because that’s where all the applications are.

Ethereum is to blockchain what Windows 95 was to computing. It’s a place you can see the potential of the technology come to life.

Ethereum is an innovator’s paradise.

Since applications can be combined, with each application that gets built the possibilities for new applications increases exponentially.

People call it money legos for the way apps can be combined and stacked on top of each other. More legos, more possibilities.

Building an app on Ethereum is like going to a music festival, building your own stage, and being able to clone other bands to come jam with you.

Ethereum is where all the best bands are playing.

There are so many applications to be leveraged on Ethereum it usually doesn’t make sense to build an app anywhere else.

Just like technology in general, the rate of development on Ethereum is accelerating at a staggering pace.

Over the last few months I’ve been struggling to keep up. It’s astounding. The sky is truly the limit.

It’s humbling and mind blowing to know that some of the biggest applications on Ethereum will be things I can’t even imagine.

The problem with blockchain education

There is currently no easy and fun way for someone to learn about blockchain.

If you find blockchain confusing, you’re not alone. It’s new, it’s weird, it’s complex. It would be weird if it wasn’t confusing.

There are many great resources out there, but most of them are passive. You’re listening, reading, or watching. There is little interactivity and thus little to keep your attention when things inevitably get overwhelming. This is particularly true for beginners where you’ve yet to have that spark of curiosity that can propel you to learn more on your own.

Ironically with this technology it’s the personal touch that is missing.

That’s why I’m starting Zero Knowledge Education.

Through personal demonstrations of the technology, the value of blockchain becomes immediately apparent. Just like how you’d easily understand the value of the internet when you send an e-mail.

Think of me as your tour guide showing you the latest attractions in the Ethereum theme park.

As a default, I’ll run casual sessions that go over the top 5 or so cool things you can do and answer any questions you have as they come up. Being able to quickly say it’s like this or that will help you understand much faster as we can quickly move past your unique stumbling blocks

If you want to go more in depth or talk about something specific we can do that too. I don’t really care, it’s whatever adds the most value to you.

It’s the 80/20 rule. After 45 minutes you’ll have learned 80% of what you need to know. You don’t need to understand every detail to get the big picture. My goal is to be a trusted resource that can give you helpful information.

I want to help you level up in your life and career so you can have some interesting knowledge you didn’t have before. I’m explaining what the potential is and most importantly, what the risks are.

Overall, I want to see you succeed.

And it’s free

In my mind I am viewing this like a public service. My mission is to make learning about blockchain as accessible as possible. Charging fees to clients would work against that mission.

Also, since money is being reinvented it seems a bit silly to nickel and dime people who just want to learn.

Don’t worry about me, I count at least 10 ways all this will benefit me.

Since this service is free, support of any kind is greatly appreciated. The best thing you could do is share this with your friends, family, and colleagues. Since I’m not charging clients and am starting this with my savings, I am also accepting donations. If you wish to support me, please send any money to zkeducation.eth. If you don’t know how to do that, I don’t want your money, I want you as a client!

If you’re curious to learn about blockchain, please get in touch at:

harry@zke.ca
zeroknowledge.education
@harrycanuck and @zkeeducation on Twitter.

If you’re curious to learn more in the meantime, head on over to /r/ethfinance and say hi. That’s where we all hang out. It’s a wonderful community full of knowledgeable and helpful people. ethhub.io is a great resource as well.

Disclosure: I own ETH (the native currency of Ethereum) and MKR (the token of Ethereum’s largest reserve bank).