We Need to Know… What You Need to Know!

As we announced during our Devoxx talk, Said and I are working on creating an online training about the blockchain as a software development platform, and more specifically about creating distributed applications (DApps) on top of Ethereum.

We decided to launch this initiative for several reasons.

First of all, because we are absolutely fascinated by this technology, but it is clearly in its infancy and it needs some more advanced tools, libraries and frameworks. And the only way it’s gonna have that is if more software developers get involved, figure out the gaps and contribute to expand the ecosystem.

Second of all because the field is wide open for killer applications and real projects that will demonstrate the incredible scope of this platform.

Last but not least, there is far too much blockchain discussion nowadays that is focused on private blockchains, because the banks are attracting all the attention with their misplaced money. And we really think it’s essential we stop wasting all this money in something that has way less potential.

On the other hand, most of the Ethereum and blockchain documentation out there is very fragmented or outdated. We couldn’t find any source of information that was at the same time:

  • comprehensive, to present all the information regarding what a blockchain is, how it works, and how you can develop on it, not just with a programming language but also with a full development environment
  • up-to-date, especially as all the tools and languages evolve very fast
  • progressive, taking you from a basic software development basis to fully functional distributed application development knowledge
  • and supported, meaning that you should get answers to all your questions as you are progressing though this complex learning experience.

And that’s exactly what we would like to create with this training program. And yes, we intend to make this a commercial training, because otherwise it would simply be impossible to answer all the questions from the students, and to update the material on a regular basis, while keeping the quality of it at a maximum.

Now the thing is if we really want to maximize the value of this program, we need to know where our future students are and what they would like to get from it. And that’s why we prepared a little survey for you.

Thanks a lot in advance for answering that survey and/or sharing it with all the developers you know who might be interested in our training program.

A Few Resources to Get Started

Over the past few weeks, we have been reading and watching a lot of material about the blockchain and some of its variants (including the Bitcoin blockchain of course). The goal is not only to understand how it works technically, which will be necessary in order to understand how we can use it, but also to understand where it comes from, how it was created.

And we wanted to share with you some of the best resources we have found so far.

First things first. What are Bitcoin and the blockchain?  The first presentation is a great introduction that illustrates how Bitcoin and the blockchain are changing the rules of our world.

The second one is a presentation from Vinay Gupta, explaining in very clear terms how the blockchain came to be, from an historical standpoint, and how it fits in the timeline of data storage mechanisms. We love this talk because it doesn’t focus too much on the economic side of things but it sees the blockchain as a software paradigm, and a development platform, and that’s what we are really interested in as well, even though the currency part of it cannot be separated.

Vinay Gupta at Michel Bauwens & the Promise of the Blockchain from FIBER on Vimeo.

The third resource is also a video, a presentation by Andreas Antonopoulos, the author of Mastering Bitcoin, one of the THE reference books on how to develop on top of the Bitcoin blockchain apparently (we bought the book, didn’t read it yet). What we really love about this guy is that he is deeply invested in the Bitcoin blockchain, and yet he remains very curious and open-minded about all the evolutions of the blockchain technology. And as we are progressing in that space, we can see that a lot of people who have invested (or speculated) a lot on Bitcoin don’t really like the idea of being challenged by new tools and techniques about their core beliefs and assumptions. In that context, this talk and all of Andreas’ contributions are quite refreshing.

The last resource we wanted to mention in this blog post is a MOOC that I (Sebastien) have started following. It’s not free, it costs 830£ (by the way, given recent events, if you pay in euros or dollars, 830£ will be cheaper than usual), but so far, 2 weeks in, I must say that I’m pretty happy with the quality of the content.

I was kind of frustrated by the Ethereum tutorial, which seems pretty outdated and lacks a lot of details to get going. But the b9lab academy content is very practical and gives plenty of pointers to learn more around the main content. So far, it’s exactly what I was looking for. And one cool thing about this MOOC is that it will end with a certification that will be written to the Ethereum blockchain so that attendees can prove they followed through this course.

We will keep sharing some of the most interesting resources we find, both in English and French, about those topics, so if you have some resources to recommend yourself, feel free to leave a comment on this post.