Posted on Nov 04, 2023Read on

"Blockchain for Dummies" by Tiana Laurence| GratitudeSeries 4/60

As part of our ongoing Gratitude Series, we're diving deep into the contributions that have significantly impacted the digital and blockchain space. We started with the seminal Bitcoin whitepaper that brought forth the fundamental question about digital trust. From there, "The Internet of Money" provided us with a deeper comprehension of that question's weight. Professor Arvind's coursework on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies at Princeton came next, elucidating the complex mechanics of hashing algorithms and Proof of Work, enabling the miracle of distributed consensus.

The year was 2017—a year marked by a proliferation of whitepapers and burgeoning ideas around blockchain technology. Amongst this renaissance, Factom emerged, drawing my attention not only to its innovative approach but also to a pivotal figure in the blockchain community: Tiana Laurence. Her book, "Blockchain for Dummies," was a gateway to understanding the myriad ways businesses could harness blockchain technology.

Our challenge at the time was monumental. As the digital transformation partner for India's largest private employer, we were tasked with streamlining the onboarding process for a staggering half a million employees annually. Through the implementation of India Stack, we had dramatically reduced the onboarding time from 7 days to a mere 14 minutes. However, the persistent hurdle remained the exhaustive and repetitive nature of background verifications (BGVs).

The situation was far from efficient. Consider the scenario: you secure a job at Accenture through a placement agency that conducts a BGV. Six months later, you transition to CTS, and you're back to square one with another full BGV. There was no system in place for incremental background checks in 2017. Furthermore, placement agencies were restricted from conducting their BGVs, resulting in outsourced costs that accumulated with every new job, regardless of who shouldered them. The redundancy was not just a logistical nightmare but a financial burden as well.

This is where "Blockchain for Dummies" shined a light on a path less traveled. Tiana Laurence's clear, concise exploration of blockchain's potential uses provided the inspiration we needed to consider this technology as a viable solution to our verification woes. Driven by the insights gained from the book, we began to conceptualize a blockchain-based system to alleviate the verification friction.

The idea was simple yet revolutionary: creating a secure, immutable ledger for employee verification data that could be updated and accessed by authorized parties, thereby eliminating the need for repeated BGVs with every job change. It was a solution that promised not just to streamline the process but to transform it entirely.

We are deeply grateful for the Factom whitepaper and Tiana Laurence's "Blockchain for Dummies" for opening our minds to these possibilities. The journey of exploring blockchain's potential within our business operations has been nothing short of transformative.

As we look back, it's clear that these resources were not just guides; they were the catalysts for a new way of thinking about and solving problems. And for that, we extend our heartfelt thanks to Tiana Laurence and the innovators behind these pivotal works. Their contributions have not only informed us but also propelled us toward a more efficient and promising future in the digital landscape.

Just dug up this msg from me to Tiana in 2017.

We will continue with the #GratitudeSeries tomorrow.


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