Bitcoin and Ethereum may be all the rage these days, but cryptocurrencies are just one facet of the many innovative blockchain-based products and services coming down the line. Venture capital firms pumped a record $1 billion into Bitcoin and blockchain-related startups last year, and this year IT giants like IBM and Microsoft are launching their own initiatives supporting blockchain development.
Bitcoin and blockchain startups are sprouting up in tech innovations hubs around the world—here are 13 of the best and brightest you need to know about in 2017.
BitGo develops a secure, multisig Bitcoin wallet—that is, a wallet that requires another user to sign a transaction for additional security. This is critical in use cases where rules and conditions must be met before transactions can be signed. The company currently processes over $1 billion transactions per month.
ShoCard’s digital identity card uses public and private keys, data hashing, and multi-factor authentication in an offering that merges driver’s license ease-of-use with blockchain security. The company recently partnered with airline IT firm SITA to build a proof-of-concept for a new passenger identity verification system.
BigchainDB allows developers and enterprises to deploy blockchain proof-of-concepts, platforms, and applications using its scalable blockchain database offering. The solution is capable of storing petabytes of data at sub-second latency levels, at one million writes per second throughput.
Blockstack Lab’s blockchain-enabled web browser improves internet privacy by allowing users to more directly control their data. Data and decentralized apps live/run independently on users’ devices, thereby circumventing the traditional security issues of centralized servers and cloud services.
Chronicled’s ethereum-based IoT platform allows physical property to be linked to the cryptocurrency—useful for various supply chain and authentication use cases. The company was recently highlighted at the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance consortium.
Short for Interplanetary File System, IPFS is a new model for the web that aims to make it faster, safer, and more open—by using a peer-to-peer distributed file system connecting all computing devices with the same system of files. The technology also makes data more resilient by enabling git-like historic versioning capabilities.
Colony’s technology uses AI and blockchain to create a decentralized autonomous organization that replicates a company, but with better collaboration and more effective work allocation. The solution integrates with Slack, GitHub, Mailchimp, and Google Docs, among others.
Slock.it focuses on merging IoT and blockchain to revolutionize the sharing economy—specifically, by using ethereum light nodes embedded in connected cars, homes, and businesses to automate renting/selling/sharing, without the middleman. Some of its partners include Samsung, Microsoft, IPFS, and Ubuntu, among others.
Backfeed is a developer of resilient technologies for supporting free, large-scale, systematic collaboration. Its distributed governance model-based protocols enable the easy deployment/maintenance of decentralized applications and organizations that rely on a massive number of spontaneous, voluntary contributions.
Storj’s decentralized cloud storage network uses blockchain to improve security and lower cloud storage costs. Unlike Dropbox or Amazon, the solution uses a P2P-based “communal” storage model that enables users to rent extra storage space on-the-fly.
Cambridge Blockchain has developed a blockchain-based identity platform that allows financial institutions to streamline compliance efforts in KYC—or know your customer—regulations. The company is the winner of various competitions and awards, including the 2016 Fintech Innovation Lab and BBVA Open Talent, to name a few.
BitPesa’s platform facilitates money transfer across borders via bitcoin, enabling businesses and consumers to transact globally for a low transaction fee. The company started as a remittance service for Kenyan citizens abroad; the company now focuses on developing solutions for merchants and “unbanked” individuals.
Hijiro allows users to streamline their supply chain operations and optimize working capital by connecting to a blockchain-enabled global financial network, purpose-built for trade. The platform includes the Hijro Trade Asset Marketplace for financial institutions and businesses to transact.
As you can see, cryptocurrencies only scratch the surface when it comes to disruptive blockchain innovations. Be sure to keep these 15 tech startups on your radar as they redefine how data is stored, exchanged, and secured on the internet.