The launch of Bitcoin (BTC) did not just create a cryptocurrency. It also put a spotlight on blockchain technology. This kickstarted an entirely new industry comprised of companies developing applications underpinned by blockchain. Hundreds of blockchain startups have been launched in the last couple of years. However, only a few have managed to capture the attention of investors and the blockchain community.
Blockchain Aims to Disrupt Our Daily Lives
What is blockchain? This technology has the potential to disrupt many aspects of business, economy, and even society. That’s why many consider it to be the most significant invention since the Internet. In addition to blockchain startups, many large companies (Walmart, for example) have embarked on a mission to develop distributed ledger technology applications to make their daily processes more efficient. For example, shipping giant Maersk and IBM have recently launched a blockchain-based global supply chain platform. Additionally, many banks are looking at blockchain to improve cross-border transactions.
Blockchain startups are also exploring ways to harness the technology and bring it closer to people. Due to decentralization, blockchain creates a safe and secure ecosystem where transactions and data cannot be changed or removed. This key feature is what gives the technology the potential to act as a major disruptor.
Blockchain Startups Solve Inefficiencies
The best blockchain startups look at a niche that distributed ledger technology can improve and create a product accordingly. Blockchain startups also help spread mass adoption of both blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
We have selected 10 blockchain startups that we consider to have notably innovative products or ideas in their respective industries. Do not interpret the following as investment advice.
The healthcare industry deals with a lot of data, from patient records to supply chains of drugs and vaccines, to regulatory information. All this information requires high levels of security and any mistakes or malevolent attempts to tamper can have dire consequences. That’s why blockchain is a perfect solution for the healthcare industry.
One of the startups that aim to disrupt the healthcare industry with blockchain is BurstIQ. This company uses blockchain to create a platform that securely stores and manages health data. Enterprises can use BurstIQ to create better health and wellness products and even find marketplaces for insurance products. The company works with healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, insurers, governments and more to help them manage data and improve transparency.
B3i is blockchain initiative created by 16 global insurers and reinsurers. In 2016, these companies joined forces to explore the potential of blockchain technology in the insurance space. In March, B3i was incorporated in Switzerland as B3i Services AG.
As one of the blockchain startups in the insurance space, B3i has the potential to improve industry efficiency by up to 30%. Last year, B3i created a blockchain prototype for catastrophe excess-of-loss reinsurance contracts. 38 insurers and brokers tested the product and came to the conclusion that it makes transactions more secure and more efficient. It is expected to go live by the end of this year.
Propy is one of the most innovative blockchain startups in the real estate industry. It offers a platform with real estate listings that can be purchased with cryptocurrency. There are currently almost 15,000 properties listed on Propy’s website, most of which are in Los Angeles. Other cities include Moscow, San Francisco, New York, London, and Dubai.
In addition to selling real estate, Propy also has an Ethereum-based property registry that tracks real estate ownership. This could eliminate many inefficiencies in property rights registration systems. Earlier this year, Propy completed the first transfer of rights for a property in South Burlington, Vermont using its registry.
7. TWO IoT
The waste management industry has also attracted several blockchain startups, one of which is TWO IoT. TWO IoT has developed sensors that measure how full a trash bin is and then send this data to the waste management company.
All information about collecting trash and depositing it in a landfill is stored in IOTA’s Tangle ledger originating from a partnership between TWO IoT and fellow Taipei-based startup Biilabs. Tangle uses an efficient system called Directed Acyclic Graph to store information. In this way, Tangle can process multiple transactions simultaneously at zero cost. That’s why it is the best suited for IoT devices.
A pilot program of TWO IoT’s was implemented at Taipei City Hall in early 2018. Additionally, IOTA is an increasingly popular payment method.
Next in line on our list of blockchain startups is Stellar. Stellar represents a network of decentralized servers around the world that facilitate cross-border money transactions. The non-profit organization behind the project aims to create a financial system that executes transactions quickly and at low cost.
With Stellar, users can send and receive money in any currency. The network converts the money into Lumens, its native token, executes the transaction, and then converts it into the receiver’s fiat currency. Moreover, Stellar exchanges currency at the best possible rate.
Transactions are possible due to nodes in the network called “Anchors.” Anchors represent trusted nodes in the Stellar ecosystem that issue credits in exchange for deposits. In this way, Anchors help execute transactions within seconds.
Among financial blockchain startups, we would also like to highlight OmiseGO. OmiseGO is a white-label platform for running smart contracts and cryptocurrency wallets. It acts as a decentralized bank, exchange, and asset-backed blockchain gateway. OmiseGO facilitates banking services for individuals and entities that cannot access them due to barriers to entry in various countries. Therefore, OmiseGO acts as a platform that interconnects payment systems like PayPal and Visa with blockchains such as Ethereum.
Currently, OmiseGO is working on its own network called Tesuji Plasma. OmiseGo expects it to solve the scalability issue. Moreover, Tesuji will use Proof-of-Stake to speed up and lower the costs of transactions.
Crypto.com, which Monaco recently purchased, wants to help people spend cryptocurrency in retail. It works by issuing a special cryptocurrency-compatible Visa credit card. Crypto.com also has an online wallet and a cryptocurrency exchange platform.
After a successful ICO last year, Crypto.com reached another major milestone: they’ve started issuing Visa cards in Singapore. After Singapore, Crypto.com will move to other Asian countries and eventually spread around the world. In this way, Crypto.com joins our list of most innovative blockchain startups, as it tries to speed up the adoption of cryptocurrency.
The small country of Iceland is home to a thriving startup community, and even has several blockchain startups, the most interesting of which is Authenteq. Authenteq uses blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) for facial recognition. AI facial recognition compares a user with their photo-ID. The system also has a multi-step verification process that prevents using counterfeit identification.
Authenteq has performed 150,000 verifications and accepted over 3,500 documents including passports, ID Cards, and driver’s licenses. Also, Authenteq connects to 10,000 anti-money-laundering sources and 190 countries around the world approve its technology.
Some blockchain startups promote renewable energy. One of these startups is Greeneum. Its goal is to advance the production and peer-to-peer trading of green energy.
Greeneum records the green energy that a household or a utility produces and issues Greeneum Carbon Credits and Green Certificates. The entire process is fully automated with a GreenPET setup that also records and validates energy production on the blockchain. The Carbon Credits and Green Certificates trade on the open market for either the native cryptocurrency GREEN, or any other cryptocurrency or fiat. Additionally, Greeneum has a marketplace wherein people can buy smart devices for energy usage and installations that produce renewable energy.
Zilliqa aims to develop a blockchain platform that allows scalability and processes more transactions than the average blockchain. The main idea behind Zilliqa is sharding. This is the process of dividing the network into smaller networks that can handle multiple transactions simultaneously.
For example, if the network has 1,000 nodes, Ziliqa can divide them into five smaller networks, or shards, with 200 nodes each. Instead of asking all 1,000 nodes to process a transaction, it will assign it just to one shard. Currently, Zilliqa is testing the technology. Last month it announced that it would delay the launch until January 2019 from the third quarter of 2018.
Blockchain Startups to Shape Our Future
Startups like these reinforce the opinion that blockchain will change the world. From decentralization to transparency, blockchain opens endless avenues of opportunity for both individuals and businesses. There are no industries to which blockchain is irrelevant, as proven by wide and varied blockchain adoption. A recent Ripple report shows that blockchain mass adoption is approaching.