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3 essential tips to get you up to speed on blockchain and decentralized technology

Overcoming the fear of learning something new rests on two questions; where do I start, and when will I master it?

Understanding blockchain is daunting because the technology is quickly evolving and the general population has yet to experience how it will change our daily lives. Many enthusiasts have equated the current blockchain environment to the world wide web in 1997. Back then, email was introduced as a specific application on the Internet. Similarly, Bitcoin and crypto is the foray into blockchain technology. But there’s a whole world of information that lays beyond. What should you do if you have little interest in coding, but you want to learn more about blockchain?

Let’s start where you are. Here are three attainable ways to get you up to speed on blockchain and decentralized tech…

1. Participate in a structured learning experience

Oftentimes, the easiest way to jump in is with a structured, learning experience, as it provides an entry point into this complex space. If this resonates with you, we recommend you take an online course such as ConsenSys Academy’s Blockchain Essentials which provides a complete overview of blockchain fundamentals and use cases. You’ll have the advantage of accessing subsequent courses as you advance through content.

Listening to podcasts like Laura Shin’s Unchained or Crypto 101 can also help. These do a great job of introducing you to blockchain and crypto related topics in the context of what is happening in the space. As they come out on a regular basis, you can schedule your learning time with each new release.

2. Read, read, read!

The first recommendation from insiders to non-developers is to try to read and understand Section 1–6 of Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. We agree. The whitepaper proposed a system that replaces the need for central authorities like banks and financial institutions to facilitate transactions. It’s remarkably elegant and should be reread as your understanding of the underpinnings grows. Checking out other free introductory reading material can help too — we suggest Blockchain Basics.

Decrypt is an excellent source for understanding what is happening in the Web3 space, and looks across all blockchain related technologies. Informative blogs like Vitalik Buterin’s (one of the co-founders of Ethereum) and Emin Gun Sirer’s (he is involved with Cornell’s Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and & Contracts) are great places to stay up to date.

Blockchain Basics is a free overview of blockchain, and a great starting point. Crypto Canon is a compiled a list of crypto readings and resources by Andressen Horowitz. It is organized from building blocks and basics, foundations and history, followed by specific topics such as governance and private keys. Subscribe to sites such as Medium, Hackernoon, Reddit, Week in Ethereum, EthHub which all do a good job of introducing blockchain and hopefully will begin to define specific interests for you in the technology such as core protocol, financial services, smart contracts, etc.

3. Go to Events

The culture of the blockchain community embraces learning from one another. There are thousands of groups and events around the world to meet and engage with passionate people and listen to various viewpoints. Seek out local meetups for Bitcoin, Ethereum and blockchain in general. We recommend to try the #BUIDL Network meetup groups worldwide. If you are a student, BEN blockchain groups are popular and welcoming places to start too. Go, be curious, ask questions, and feel the energy & passion at events.

Hackathons, whether virtual or in-person, offer great opportunities to connect with those engaged with solving problems using blockchain. Meeting fellow enthusiasts to turn to with questions about how things work or why they matter to us in the real world is essential in understanding the technology. EthGlobal events are accessible to non-developers, providing an entry point Remember that blockchain is fairly recent so there’s always someone learning something new. You won’t be the first or only one learning at these meetups!

Continue to learn by doing, reading and re-reading blogs and articles, and accepting that you may will always be growing your knowledge in this space. Blockchain is evolving so you should too!

Have any more suggestions for those of you who are not developers, but have jumped into the blockchain space? Comment below!

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author above do not necessarily represent the views of Consensys AG. ConsenSys is a decentralized community with ConsenSys Media being a platform for members to freely express their diverse ideas and perspectives. To learn more about ConsenSys and Ethereum, please visit our website.

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Here’s How to Learn about Blockchain When You’re Not Technical was originally published in ConsenSys Media on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.