Considering recent trending news around the globe on the blockchain, and with the current increasing value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that rely on the blockchain technology, one begins to wonder what blockchain actually is. It is a pretty simple concept, though after a certain point, it may get more complicated the harder you look.
- A Brief History of Blockchain
- Blockchain Companies
The blockchain is a record of transactions currently spreading across the internet, especially as more people now use cryptocurrencies. It is a digitized and decentralized public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. It is constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks and the cryptocurrency transactions are recorded and added to it in a chronological manner. Blockchain platform allows market participants to keep track of all their digital currency transactions without any form of central recordkeeping. Once a computer is connected to the network, each node gets a copy of the blockchain, which is automatically downloaded.
It has always been a common practice for people to use the trusted middleman like the bank to make transactions. Blockchain now allows consumers and suppliers to connect directly, removing the need for a third party. But blockchain technology work for almost every type of transaction that involves value, ranging from money, property goods and services. Blockchain’s potential almost seems to be limitless: ranging from collecting taxes to enabling migrants to send money back to family in countries where banking may be difficult. It is believed that if blockchain goes on mainstream, anyone with access to the internet would be able to use it to make transactions.
However, only a very small proportion of global GDP (around 0.025 percent, or $20 billion) is held in the blockchain. This is according to a survey by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. But on research, it is suggested that there will be a significant increase in the next decade, as banks, insurers and tech firms see the technology as a way to speed up payment and also cut costs.
The blockchain is perhaps the main technological innovation in cryptocurrency transactions. These transactions are not regulated by a central authority. Instead, the operations are dictated and validated by its users. When one person pays another for goods or services, the need for a third party to process the payment is eliminated as the completed transactions are publicly recorded into blocks and eventually into the blockchain, where it is verified and relayed by other traders. It was originally developed as the accounting method for the popular virtual currency, bitcoin. It uses what is known as distributed ledger technology (DLT) which seems to be appearing in a variety of commercial applications today.
The first recorded work on a cryptographically secured chain of blocks as described in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta. But in 1992, Bayer, Haber and Stornetta incorporated Merkle tree to the existing design, which improved its efficiency by allowing several documents to be collected into one block. The blockchain concept was first revealed in 2008 by an anonymous person or a group known as Satoshi Nakamoto, and it was implemented the following year as a core component of the Bitcoin digital currency, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions on the network. By use of a blockchain, bitcoin was recorded to be the first digital currency to solve the double spending problem without requiring a trusted administrator and which have now served as the inspiration for many additional similar applications.
Attracted by the idea of removing the third party rule and moving towards democratization and decentralization of cryptocurrency transactions, Tech startups are beginning to adopt blockchain technology with the goal of disrupting a variety of barriers. This has led to the development of numerous blockchain companies. The advent and growth of blockchain companies and cryptocurrency transaction in general, has become one of the defining trends in the technology and finance sector. This could be seen as different technology and finance companies are beginning to work together on innovating how people can transact freely devoid of any form of barrier.
Blockchain development is an interesting concept especially as it has become a distributed ledger of unalterable digitally recorded data. Before now, technology was initially limited to protection of financial transactions as being a global database that does not rely on a centralized administrator. But with the emergence of fresh case studies and innovations coming into the picture, the use of blockchain technology has emerged as a new horizon for the IT business market. In the past, most blockchain companies were focused exclusively on bitcoin, but as at today, new blockchain companies have emerged and used in other sectors other than the just finance sector.
Presently, there seem to be hundreds of blockchain technology companies in different industries, ranging from digital identity to various internet trading. Based on social media presence and influence, here are some list of top global blockchain companies that are advancing the field of internet trading and finding creative uses for this world-changing technology.
LedgerX has become one of the leading companies to have taken the lead on so-called “derivative swaps” on digital currencies. It became the first company to receive United States regulatory approval in cryptocurrency trading back in July 2017.The Company also reported that it had commenced trading derivative swaps for cryptocurrencies in November of the same year. While dealing with the digital bitcoin currency right now only, the company’s CEO Paul Chou has indicated that the company’s ambitions extend far beyond bitcoin. And as the only company with such regulatory approval in the United States, it has a huge potential of achieving its stated ambitions.
This is another innovative blockchain company with huge potentials, seeking to stir things up in 2018. The company is assiduously aspiring to solve a very simple problem in the world of finance liquidity. QUOINE has noted that traditional markets look to large financial institutions for liquidity, which is a problem that had lingered without a solution for cryptocurrency users. Quoine recently launched a product known as enter quoine liquid, a "single globally-sourced trading platform with a large associated suite of services." This recently launched trading platform consists of a matching engine, a cross currency conversion engine, and a smart order routing which enables traders to locate buyers and sellers in a fast and efficient manner. The suite of services will provide a traditional set of tools especially tailored to cryptocurrencies and blockchain companies.
Olympus Labs is a Technology Company set to be launching its blockchain tailored "financial ecosystem" in January this year (2018). According to the company, its comprehensive marketplace of financial products and protocol is one of those many reasons the company is currently attracting its big-name partners, a team of Yale University graduates and industry vets. The Company’s financial ecosystem will include a diverse range of different fintech products and hedging tools with a seamless wallet and payment integration. It is believed that the company’s new suite of products will encourage more fund and asset managers will be propelled to include cryptocurrencies in their asset allocation models, especially as the company is offering user-friendly tools to create custom products to be sold within the Olympus marketplace. Olympus Labs is also looking forward to expanding into the lending and payments space and offering the same set of tools and protocol for easy integration and a more user-friendly atmosphere.
Shapeshift is a Switzerland-based blockchain company, it is one of the original digital currency trading companies, and has remained one of its most innovative. Shapeshift allows users to trade in over 40 different digital currencies especially with applications for iOS and Android. Also, one of Shapeshift’s unique features is that the company allows digital currencies to be traded first even without collecting the funds into company accounts. This is part of a company’s broader strategy focused on discretion and privacy. The company has established its position as a market leader, which has also allowed it to expand the use of cryptocurrencies in the consumer market.
A cryptocurrency exchange that has introduced promising cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology into Korea and it aims to provide a stable cryptographic trading environment. In July of 2017, the company had acquired over 30,000 members just within three months after its first launch, and the transaction volume is also growing at a rapid rate of nearly four times. Coinnest is said to be linked with the World’s leading exchanges, BTC Trade, Jubi.com, BTC-Box, etc., as family groups and currently ranks 4th in Korea and 18th in the world’s Coinhills ranking. With huge investment from Bitmain and the Quantum Foundation, Coinnest enterprise value was estimated to be over KRW 100 billion.
This company is regarded as one of the world’s first "digital workspace and enterprise incubator.” The company offers a blockchain-based platform that can be used to expand world cryptocurrency trading opportunities, labor opportunities, networking and even education opportunities. SkyHive is said to bring together, a crowd-sourced labor and the networking platform to the public sector which enables companies and startups to seek resources and hire individuals as needed.
The Aeternity project has been developed as the solution for issues that networks like Ethereum and Bitcoin are facing most notably and has aided in their transaction processing speed and network’s scalability. This blockchain company has established a network that handles all transactions and contracts in a state channel and the number of transactions that the network can process keeps going up exponentially.
This is regarded as revolutionary blockchain which utilizing an AI called the Blockchain Nervous System (BNS) to solve issues of network guidance. And the direction of this network is decided by the market. For instance, when users do not like an action taken by the network, they sell off tokens, which then go to decrease the overall value of the market. This network learns from its mistakes and makes good use of the market opinion to guide the growth and progression of the network in transactions.
Contentkid is a disruptive payment company that makes use of blockchain technology to provide for short-lived subscriptions to content which the users may only need for a short time. Thus, it works on an hourly or a daily subscription against the conventional monthly or yearly fees. The company shares these subscriptions across users who only pay for what they need. The solution of this company is connected to the Hyperledger blockchain which is believed to help in reducing fraud while also bringing premium content to the average users.
It is blockchain-based and a content copyright enforcement tool for VR/AR and 360-degree video content. Blockphase does not only allow the users post their content via the platform, but it also goes beyond to help the users protect their copyrights with an infringement search tool. By enabling users store and manage their copyrights on a blockchain network, it reduces the risk of fraud and puts the artists’ minds at ease for them to focus on creation instead of protection.
Decissio is regarded as a blockchain company with an AI-powered investment and VC platform. This platform provides investors with the information they need to supplement their instincts and keep track of their investments. The Company gives it users an opportunity to have the companies they invest in the report to them through the Decissio platform; this is to ensure that all records are kept true and auditable.
From the incredible opportunity for decentralization, blockchain technology now offers the ability to create businesses and operations that are not only flexible but also secure. Whether companies will succeed in deploying blockchain technology to create products and services consumers will trust and adopt remains to be seen. Nevertheless, this is a space investor should watch as the demand for blockchain-based services is on the rise, and the technology is maturing and advancing at a rapid pace.
From the research so far, it is obvious that there plethora of Blockchain Companies which were not listed and many are still evolving. However, it is believed that from 2018 and beyond, the world of finance will be quickly evolving to accommodate the growing momentum of blockchain companies and cryptocurrencies. But it is also likely these major listed companies will play a large role in this evolution process.
• "Blockchains: The great chain of being sure about things." The Economist. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2016. The technology behind bitcoin lets people who do not know or trust each other build a dependable ledger. This has implications far beyond the cryptocurrency.
• Morris, David Z. (15 May 2016). "Leaderless, Blockchain-Based Venture Capital Fund Raises $100 Million, And Counting". Fortune. Retrieved 2016-05-23
• "Blockchain." Investopedia. Retrieved 19 March 2016. Based on the Bitcoin protocol, the blockchain database is shared by all nodes participating in a system.