Chain Reaction: How Blockchain Will Transform the Developing World

Chain Reaction helps you understand blockchain through the lens of developing markets.

Amidst the constant stream of overly technical and excitable books heralding a blockchain revolution that’s destined to be more disruptive than the Internet, this book stands apart for its more nuanced take, focusing on the potential for these new technologies to change developing countries for the better.

With blockchain, we are about to witness a leapfrogging – one that will bring the next billion emerging consumers into the formal economy by creating reliable institutions of contract, ownership and trust among people previously denied such luxuries.


“Chain Reaction is showcasing how blockchain is revolutionizing governance, building trust around the developing world, with many examples of what blockchain can do for society.”

Arunma Oteh, Academic Scholar at University of Oxford and former World Bank Treasurer

The Key Things You’ll Learn Inside

The authors take you on a journey through the developing world as they discuss the opportunities (and the costs) of blockchain technology in the developing world. Much of the writing was done while Paul was on his own journey through Africa during a six-month journey with his family.

This book does not seek to further the hype that has emerged around Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Rather, the authors seek to use the canvas of developing markets to provide more context as to why some think a revolution is underway, while others are more pragmatic about if or now systems will evolve, given this emerging technology.


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“The scenario approach is the perfect way to step beyond the clichés about blockchain and explore the full range of possibilities in a rich and compelling way―and you simply could not ask for better guides.”

Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist


“A thoroughly enjoyable primer for understanding blockchain, distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrencies, and a wonderful insight into how the technology that started with Bitcoin is being applied today. Highly recommended.”

Mark Mobius, PhD, Founding Partner, Mobius Capital Partners

James Bowater

“Chain Reaction is refreshingly frank in its treatment of the technology behind blockchain, dispelling crypto moon shots in favor of a story of realistic hope for the developing world. A book for novice technologists and blockchain believers alike, Chain Reaction weaves its way around the world with case studies and anecdotes of false dawns peppered with green shoots.”

James Bowater, Founder & Editor at Large of at City AM

duncan wales

“Chain Reaction shines a light on the complexity and misunderstandings that surround blockchain, dispelling myths and using data and examples to predict the possible future application of this innovative technology. Few have attempted anything as practical. Chain Reaction is an insightful tour through innovation, politics and technology leapfrogging in the emerging world.”

Duncan Wales, Founder and CEO, Tellimer

rafael ramirez

“This book invites those who might consider deploying blockchain to answer several important questions: Why exactly they are deploying it? With what expectations? With whom, and instead of whom, and against whom, and for whom? The examples and callouts in the text helpfully ground these questions in relation to a wide range of different realities.”

Rafael Ramirez, Professor of Practices, University of Oxford; Director, Oxford Scenarios Programme

Meet The Authors


Paul Domjan

Paul Domjan consults and advises on strategy, growth, innovation and scenario planning. He is a Senior Associate at NormannPartners and Senior Contributing Analyst at Tellimer and was CEO of 4Cast-RGE. He has advised the UK, US and many developing country governments; was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University; and is a frequent guest lecturer on emerging markets and digital themes. He traveled overland across southern and eastern Africa with his spouse and primary school aged children while researching this book.


Gavin Serkin

Gavin Serkin’s first book, Frontier: Exploring the Top Ten Emerging Markets of Tomorrow, was acclaimed a “must read” by Financial Times. His work leading Bloomberg’s teams of journalists uncovering derivatives behind the global financial crisis won him Society of American Business Editors & Writers’ Best in Business and Society of Professional Journalists’ Deadline Club awards. In 2015, Gavin founded New Markets Media & Intelligence to spur responsible investment in technology and developing countries. He is a frequent guest lecturer on emerging markets.


Brandon Thomas

Brandon Thomas is an entrepreneur and executive with over 20 years of experience developing and managing businesses in numerous industries, from retail to government to media. Brandon is currently Partner of Grayline Group, a firm that brings together experts, data, and solutions to help companies and public institutions manage disruptive change, and founder of Blockview Partners, a consulting and investment advisory firm.


John Toshack

John Toshack is a Managing Partner at Delphos International where he connects technology companies with sources of impact finance and development capital; areas of particular interest include venture capital, financial inclusion, agri-tech and digitization of trade. Prior to joining Delphos, John had a 15+ year career with the HSBC Group, where he held a number of senior roles in the Global Markets division.