What Is The Blockchain? One Article From “The New York Times Magazine” Is A Great Explainer

Whether you are already familiar with blockchain concepts or totally bewildered by the flood of news, updates, etc: An article which manages to break down what this technology is and how it might affect day-to-day life is hard to find. 

“Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble”, written by Steven Johnson, published January 16, 2018, is… excellent. It’s long. But it manages to walk you through the many reasons why blockchain, Ethereum, Bitcoin might matter for everyone, not just a small group of insiders.

Just one quote, to potentially nudge you to follow the link to read it yourself:

“You may be inclined to dismiss these transformations. After all, Bitcoin and Ether’s runaway valuation looks like a case study in irrational exuberance. And why should you care about an arcane technical breakthrough that right now doesn’t feel all that different from signing in to a website to make a credit card payment? But that dismissal would be shortsighted. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the recent history of the internet, it’s that seemingly esoteric decisions about software architecture can unleash profound global forces once the technology moves into wider circulation. If the email standards adopted in the 1970s had included public-private key cryptography as a default setting, we might have avoided the cataclysmic email hacks that have afflicted everyone from Sony to John Podesta, and millions of ordinary consumers might be spared routinized identity theft. If Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, had included a protocol for mapping our social identity in his original specs, we might not have Facebook.”

And, in few words, one conclusion from this text: “The Bitcoin bubble may ultimately turn out to be a distraction from the true significance of the blockchain“.


Johnson, Steven: “Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble”. The New York Times Magazine. January 16, 2018. Retrieved: January 19, 2018.