Download: Beginner's guide to blockchain

Although it rose to fame on the power of bitcoin, blockchain has rapidly morphed into an enterprise-worthy platform that could disrupt a variety of industries. Here's everything you need to know to understand this important distributed ledger technology and where it's going.

It's been called a technology so unique that it could disrupt our digital lives in ways not seen since the arrival of the internet. Supply chains. Banking. Contracts. Real estate investments. Food supplies. Even personal identities.

All could see sweeping changes in the years ahead – if companies move smartly and don't expect blockchain to do things it can't (or wasn't designed for).

And yet, figuring out just what this distributed ledger technology is, and exactly what it can do for business, feels more like a quest from the Odyssey. Is it primarily aimed at financial services and cryptocurrencies? Or can it really be used across a wide variety of industries. (IBM, SAP, Microsoft and a number of other big-name tech firms hope it's the latter.)

With all the hype floating around, it's hard to separate what's real (and do-able) and what's not. So we've created this special report (in an enhanced PDF format) to help you out.

This collection of five in-depth stories will leave you with a detailed understanding of blockchain, the potential it offers and the pitfalls that could slow widespread adoption, or derail it entirely.

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