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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

“Blockchains: Gaming and Collusion- A Reading in Political Economy”:  Futuristic Exploration with Fact-based Analysis

In this digital age, it has become quite common for us to constantly remain mesmerized by fascinating technologies.  However, deeper thoughts about those technologies, or their holistic analysis from multi-dimensional perspectives is not still a very prevalent practice, particularly in a developing country like Bangladesh. A good example is “blockchain”, a highly popular tech buzzword in current times. While we keep hearing this term so often, general awareness regarding this still remain quite limited.

For instance, many of us may wonder what actually blockchain is and how it operates. Is blockchain just another impressive tech tool, or it has deeper linkage with our psychological, social, financial and political horizons?  How blockchain may impact the world in upcoming days?

Elaborated answers to all these questions (and more) can be found in the book “Blockchains: Gaming and Collusion- A Reading in Political Economy” written and published this year by Dr. Syed Muntasir Mamun. The author’s profile itself appears as a distinctive feature here. Dr. Muntasir is currently a Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangladesh, leading a crucial portfolio of international trade-investment-technology and ICT. During a service tenure of over 17 years in foreign service, he has served in various important roles in home and abroad. He holds an M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in University of Dhaka, followed by post-graduate studies in the University of Oxford. Now-a-days in tech-based books we mostly find authors with more technological background. So, it is quite inspiring to see a comprehensive book on blockchain written by a Bangladeshi author, who is professionally a diplomat with such an enriched career.

Let us have a quick look at the contents of this book. The book starts with an introduction, where author proficiently depicts the core concept of blockchain. It may appear thrilling to readers to know that blockchain evolution is driven not just by increasing computational power and aritificial intelligence.  A constant contest in human societies for power, authority and domination are also pivotal factors here. These aspects are further addressed in the second chapter where the author discusses about historical origin and some technological aspects of blockchain.

Chapter three takers readers towards an exciting domain of gaming and Collusion in politics. Accordingly, chapter four explains how blockchains are becoming technology of politics. Here the author also refers to a wide range of prior research, policy papers and documentation on this topic.

Chapter five contains some enthusing details on how blockchain is transforming traditional financial eco-system and gradually creating new markets. Chapter six speaks for itself through the title “Blockchain: A Powerful Tool for the Grand Masters”.  It provides a glimpse of a possible new universe generated through a multi-verse of political economy fueled by blockchain. The text highlights the evolution of the connections between the political and the economic actors of the society and also those of the state from an arc view of time. How technology concentrates power and distributes it across a new and

Emerging layer of tech-moguls is the focus of analytics here.

Chapter seven is focused on the role of artificial intelligence, its limitations and advantages in advancing blockchain. Reducing the ambient bias inherent in the growth of AI and putting the human individual at the centre of its design-space is the primary focus of this chapter.   Chapter eights talks about blockchain’s thematic application spectrum consisting of different enabling themes. The book ends with a strong conclusion, where the authors encourages the readers to keep following this electrifying expedition. Last but not the least, the entire write-up is strengthened by an enriched list of over 650 references.

Throughout the book the author has maintained a simple engaging tone, even while explaining complicated stuff. This is a major strength of this book, which also makes it easily understandable to all segments of readers. For researchers and professionals working in this domain, this book is undoubtedly an excellent asset. It is a good source of relevant insights for policy makers and policy analysts. Above all, this book can serve knowledge needs and spark further curiosity about blockchains among any reader, regardless of their educational or professional context. It indeed can be a valuable addition to the library catalogue of any institution.

The author himself has indicated at the end that the writing does not end here, it is just the beginning and more to come. Indeed, in accordance with speedy developments in this domain, we can eagerly expect further editions of this book. In future editions the author may consider adding further real-life case studies, which may get more available with increasing deployment of blockchain based services.

As technological advancement continues to shape this world, it is simultaneously igniting lot of debates regarding ultimate consequences of mankind.  So holistic analysis about technology-driven transformations; based on past, present and future aspects; now seems more needed than ever. A book about blockchain written by an accomplished Bangladeshi author, which contains futuristic exploration with fact-based analysis, is indeed a significant milestone in this regard.

Azfar Adib

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