The Certified Blockchain Solution Architect (CBSA) exam is an elite way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in the Blockchain arena. Upon passing the exam you will become an member of a community of Blockchain leaders.

This certification is perfect for those that need a baseline certification. Roles that would benefit could be cloud architects, software architects, systems engineers and many other roles that are in organizations that current design, specify, service and sell IT technologies.

The organizations could be an internal organizations such as enterprise architecture, the CIO office or even an IT department. Other organizations that would clearly benefit would be Value Added Resellers (VAR), Consulting companies, IT Vendors and Systems Integrators.

Technical Merits Gained from Passing the exam.

Honestly, the exam is not technically complex nor very difficult for those any blockchain experience. The exam will test your knowledge on basic blockchain technology fundamentals, use cases and strategic placement of blockchains. The exam also tests lightly on Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum and Bitcoin.

However, the exam does not test on deep technical knowledge and is geared towards a sales engineer level of required knowledge. For those that want a deep technical knowledge you would need to go towards the Linux Foundations exams in my opinion. Here is a link for those interested.

Main Selling Points of Exam is testing credibility and knowledge validation.

The Certified Blockchain Solution Architect (CBSA) exam is a professionally delivered exam which is proctored thru Pearson. This is very different than other blockchain certification that is tested basically online and open book. The other factor I think is significant to note is that the exam is open to take by anyone.

A significant number of other accreditations and certifications seem to require that you take their course to get certified. BTA is different and promotes blockchain knowledge.

Passing this certification will distinguish you as one that is knowledgeable from a pre sales perspective in blockchain technology

The CBSA exam is a 70 question multiple-choice exam that lasts 1.5 hours and is a performance-based evaluation of Solution Architect skills and knowledge.

Exam Cost is $300.

Below is the link for the exam info.

Certified Blockchain Solution Architect (CBSA)

Proctored and not open book

Blockchain Training Alliance Review – CBSA Exam

  • Exam has clearly documented objectives which are below.
  • Architect blockchain solutions
  • Work effectively with blockchain engineers and technical leaders
  • Choose appropriate blockchain systems for various use cases
  • Work effectively with both public and permissioned blockchain systems

Exam Objectives are defined.

  • The Certified Blockchain Solution Architect (CBSA) exam has clearly defined objectives on the website.
  • Before taking this exam or for that matter any exam you should review all objectives and prerequisites for preparing for the exam.


This exam will prove that a student completely understands:

  • The difference between proof of work, proof of stake, and other proof systems and why they exist
  • Why cryptocurrency is needed on certain types of blockchains
  • The difference between public, private, and permissioned blockchainsHow blocks are written to the blockchain
  • Where cryptography fits into blockchain and the most commonly used systems
  • The Common use cases for public blockchains
  • Common use cases for private & permissioned blockchains
  • What is needed to launch your own blockchain
  • Common problems & considerations in working with public blockchains
  • The awareness of the tech behind common blockchains
  • When is mining needed and when it is not
  • Byzantine Fault Tolerance
  • Consensus among blockchains
  • What is hashing
  • How addresses, public keys, and private keys work
  • What is a smart contract
  • Security in blockchain
  • Brief history of blockchain
  • The programming languages of the most common blockchains
  • Common testing and deployment practices for blockchains and blockchain-based apps

Deep Dive BTA Exam Review (CBSA) and Notes

The exam review below is part one of a series. The links for the additional posts will be at the bottom of this post. For more information on the Top Five Reasons to Take the Blockchain Training Alliance CBSA Exam check out this link

Objective – Consensus The difference between proof of work, proof of stake, and other proof systems and why they exist

Consensus is important to learn for the exam.

Consensus is a dynamic way of reaching agreement in a group. While voting just settles for a majority rule without any thought for the feelings and well-being of the minority. Effectively consensus makes sure that an agreement is reached which could benefit the entire group as a whole

Knowing the following consensus methods is critical since these topics are tested.

Objective – Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) 

Classic problem is distributed computing and is explained with Byzantine generals Pre-selected generals and meant for a private blockchain. BFT is generally implemented thru a consensus called PBFT

PBFT runs incredibly efficiently and has a high transaction throughput BUT Centralized/permission based. E. G Hyperledger, Ripple and Stellar

Here is a cheat sheet.

Objective – Blockchain Mining and why is it important?

Bitcoin mining is so called because it resembles the mining of other commodities. Mining requires exertion and it slowly makes new currency available at a rate that resembles the rate at which commodities like gold are mined from the ground.

Objective – Why cryptocurrency is needed on certain types of blockchains

Digital currencies are secured using cryptography and combining that with their role as a currency. Cryptocurrencies are mined and not printed. Considered digital gold, silver and thus Bitcoin is the most widely known and has the largest market cap.

Difference between Blockchains and Cryptos

Blockchains serve as the basis technology in which cryptocurrencies are a part of the ecosystem.
They go hand in hand, and cryptocurrency is often necessary to transact on a permissionless blockchain

What is an ICO?

Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is an event in which a new cryptocurrency sells advance tokens from its overall coinbase, in exchange for upfront capital. ICOs are frequently used for developers of a new cryptocurrency to raise capital

Objective – The difference between public, private, and permissioned blockchains

Public Blockchains are also referred to as permissionless or open blockchains.

  • Bitcoin was the original permissionless blockchain.
  • Transactions are processed by all nodes in the blockchain
  • Transactions are publicly viewable(transparent) in the blockchain
  • Widely distributed.  For example Ethereum has over 16,000 nodes worldwide
Diagram – MyBlockchainExperts

Public Blockchains Benefits

  • Open Read and Write (Transparency)
  • Ledger is distributed (P2P)
  • Censorship resistant (Immutability)
  • Secure due to mining (51% rule)

Comparing Public vs Private

Much more on this topic which is covered in my book “Architecting Enterprise Blockchain Solutions” and my Course CBSA Crashcourse

Objective – How Blocks are written to a blockchain

A block contains data of the transaction, hash of the block and hash of the previous block. The structure of the block is below

Diagram – MyBlockchainExperts

Block An ordered set of transactions that is cryptographically linked to the preceding block(s) on a channel.

Chain The ledger’s chain is a transaction log structured as hash-linked blocks of transactions.

A genesis block is the first block of a block chain and then come the branches –

  • Block Categories
  • Main branch blocks
  • Side branch blocks
  • Orphan blocks

Test Tip – Hashing, use the Anders online resource. Know what a nonce is used for as well.

ObjectiveDatabase or Blockchain

  • Legacy Architectures in databases.
  • SQL or NoSQL
  • Whether centralized or distributed
  • Traditional databases use client-server network architecture.
  • Database processing is quicker

Traditional databases use client-server network architecture and the control of the database remains with a designated authority

The challenge is if security of the authority is compromised then the data can be modified, or even deleted.

(CRUD) Create, Read, Update, and Delete which is more flexible than blockchain.

Database Properties – ACID

  • Atomicity – means that either all of the operations in a transaction execute successfully and take the system to a different consistent state or nothing happens at all.
  • Consistency –means that integrity constraints must be maintained so that the database is consistent before and after the transaction.
  • Isolation – this property ensures that multiple transactions can occur concurrently with no inconsistency of the database state.
  • Durability – This property ensures that once the transaction has completed execution the updates are written to disk.

Test Tip – Databases are client server, blockchain is a peer to peer protocol which does not support CRUD. (No update nor delete)

Objective – Where cryptography fits into blockchain and the most commonly used systems

Some definitions.

  • Private Key and public key are a part of encryption that encodes the information. Both keys work in two encryption systems called symmetric and asymmetric.
  • Symmetric encryption (private-key encryption or secret-key encryption) utilize the same key for encryption and decryption.
  • Asymmetric encryption utilizes a pair of keys like public and private key for better security where a message sender encrypts the message with the public key and the receiver decrypts it with his/her private key.
Diagram –


Know the different types and which one is most secure.

  • Web
  • Hardare
  • Paper

Test Tip – Paper wallets are the most secure in most cases. Why, because they are not connected to a computer or a network.

Objective – The common use cases for public blockchains

Use cases can be very different between permissionless and permissioned blockchains. Blockchains are growing in use cases and not to mention major IT Vendors are sponsoring

Test Tip – The use case for a public blockchain almost always entails a requirement for transparency. If an organization has strict requirements around compliance then Hyperledger Fabric is the winner.

Much more on this topic which is covered in my book “Architecting Enterprise Blockchain Solutions” and my Course CBSA Crashcourse

Objective –  Common use cases for private & permissioned blockchains

There are many use-cases for the blockchain, even though the technology adoption has really just started. Blockchain is one of the several dominant and promising technologies of the past few years that is driving companies to innovate and change how value is delivered.

Permissionless (Public) or Permissioned (Private)

A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value in economic, social, cultural, or other contexts. (Investopedia)

Business Models – MyBlockchainExperts

Test Tip – Understand how Ethereum places vs Hyperledger Fabric

Objective – What is needed to launch your own blockchain

First is a Use Case, then expertise.

What are the overall steps to building a blockchain?

Much more on this topic which is covered in my book “Architecting Enterprise Blockchain Solutions” and my Course CBSA Crashcourse

For those interested in the Certified Blockchain Developer – Hyperledger Certification (CBDH) please check this link

Objective – Segwits and Forks

Bitcoin Fork

What is a fork.

A fork is a change to the software of the digital currency that creates two separate versions of the blockchain with a shared history (One Dominant) Can be permanent or temporary

  • There is a snapshot date, where a snapshot of the ledger is captured
  • The snapshot happens at a block number and a new cryptocurrency is the result
  • Hard Fork or Soft Fork

Test Tip – Before taking the exam read up on the difference between a Hard Fork and a Soft Fork.

What is a SegWit?

  • SegWits = Segregated Witness –  Segregated Witness in short, means to separate transaction signatures.
  • Is the process by which the block size limit on the BTC blockchain is increased by removing signature data from Bitcoin transactions.
  • By removing signatures, it frees up capacity to add more transactions to the chain.

What are the benefits of a Segwit?

Improve Scalability (UTX0)

Reduces transaction times by skipping calculation for signatures.

Enables off chain protocols (P2SH256)

Can improve transaction security thru reducing malleability

Exam Practice Question.

What type of fork is a change that’s backward compatible?

  • a. Hard fork
  • b. Soft fork
  • c. Either hard or soft forks
  • d. Segwit Fork

End of Part One.

Go here for Part Two.

Carry on my cloud friends and please do let me know any feedback or suggestions.

Joe Holbrook, the Cloud Tech Guy

Architecting Enterprise Blockchain Solutions 1st Edition