Despite all dire predictions and impressive price decline, which we’ve witnessed at the end of 2018, cryptocurrencies and the entire blockchain idea are far from dead. Instead of fading away and becoming a once popular but useless plaything, distributed ledger gains popularity and enters various spheres of our lives. Governments, banks, sociology and political research centers, insurance and healthcare institutions, even food and music services, together with many other industries, employ this technology, which opens up new opportunities for them.
Looking at the number of blockchain startups that were or are being launched in 2018-2019, it is easy to believe that the whole market of cryptocurrencies and related businesses may hit astonishing $19.9 billion in 2023. This forecast is given by the reputable Research and Markets resource, which I tend to trust. Unfortunately, most of those new companies and projects remain unknown for investors and regular users. I’ve chosen the ten most notable young companies that use the public ledger for you to consider as an investment opportunity.
A group of real estate and cryptography enthusiasts have started the company named SafeChain. Their product, SafeWire, provides an innovative approach to buying and selling property. To be more specific, the founders wanted to make deals faster and safer, and implemented blockchain to verify identity, authenticate bank accounts, and transfer funds. There is no chance your money gets lost or goes to the wrong place, because all mistakes are excluded.
In practice, SafeChain provides several groundbreaking benefits for both real estate brokers and their clients:
- Safewire allows instant verification of the parties to the transaction and bank accounts;
- For more safety, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is required;
- It minimizes the risk of fraudulent activity.
Thus, the companies save time, do not worry about letting down their clients, and do their business with peaceful minds.
The website of this company says that B3i is the product of cooperation between several top insurance companies. Such representatives of the industry as Achmea, Generali, Hannover Re, Tokio Marine Holdings, Liberty Mutual, and others, have already joined the consortium, and more are invited. The founders claim that using the blockchain concept they can improve the entire business sector, and make it work more efficiently and beneficially for all participants, including final consumers.
The first product of B3i, Property Cat XOL contracts, integrates public ledger to do calculations, registration, and reporting for all parties to the deal. This way, they achieve several goals:
- Multiparty deals become faster and easier to complete;
- The information sent between clients, insurers, and reinsurers is protected by the cryptography protocol, and completely private;
- All calculations are done on the basis of the smart contract algorithm;
- This technology allows one to decrease the time necessary to complete deals. With smart contracts, it can take several days instead of several weeks.
B3i Initiative was founded in 2016, but last year it was reformed and now its full name is B3i Services AG. This renewed structure is going to take further steps towards less risky and more affordable insurance services.
In order to get rid of intermediaries between soundtrack composers and their listeners, a group of music fans, software developers, businessmen, and blockchain proponents have got their brainchild on the road. Audius became the most promising platform for music creators and Internet audiences based on blockchain technology, which connects them directly without any centralized entity. The creators claim that in this manner the artists have full control over their music and the way it is broadcasted, and they know who exactly listens to it and when.
Both sides interact with each other and the distributed ledger with the help of special crypto tokens, named Loud. All metadata and attribution of the soundtracks on Audius are encrypted in the blockchain, so they remain intact, ageless, and easy to verify at any moment. In addition, any musician who publishes his creative works on this website receives payments instantly when someone chooses the corresponding song. This completely transparent and decentralized network will definitely become a new dawn in online content distribution.
The slogan of the Veridium startup is “Hands on security.” These guys have created a unique platform that simplifies and streamlines, but at the same time strengthens, multifactor authentication. Using their products, there is no need to type in the password every time you want to come into the room, or enter some account. Instead, you can use your selfie or/and the image of your fingers. The system asks you to scan the QR code to make sure you are a registered user, and then compares the photo with what it has in the database. Only in the case that everything is correct, it will let you in and allow to proceed with the transaction.
Blockchain technology is used to store the information about all operations, keeping your private information safe and untouched. Biometrics authentication is good for companies and workers, because:
- It is faster;
- It is much cheaper than using tokens and secure codes;
- It provides real security, as this protocol is virtually impossible to hack.
The password, which you can lose or forget, is now replaced with the phone in your hand, and your hand! What can be more convenient?
The AiPod from Bodyo is a personal electronic health provider to watch what you eat, how much you weigh, whether you have enough physical activity, and even to help you stick to a healthy diet. It knows your blood pressure, controls sugar level, and tells you when you are dehydrated. The data, kept and shared in the distributed ledger, can be used by your doctor for a more precise diagnosis, or by your nutritionist and fitness trainer.
At the same time, you can easily keep an eye on your health condition and take measures in a timely manner. Handy gadgets and applications do all the measurement and analysis, and give out the information for you to make further decisions. The young company seeks new partners interested in promoting and implementing pioneering healthcare technologies. In my view, this is one of the most interesting and worthwhile startup projects.
Do you need to connect several businesses in one chain and make the transactions safer, cheaper, and faster within this chain? Then you should pay attention to the first-of-a-kind fintech solution provided by Rate3. This team of innovators came up with the idea that all assets can be tokenized. Thus, if you have fiat money, real estate, insurance policies, or any other funds, you can turn them into crypto coins, Ethereum of Stellar:
- First, you prove your identity with the help of MFA;
- Then you provide the system with your crypto address;
- Move your funds to the company;
- Receive digital tokens in return.
The operations with assets become automated and safe, you do not need to verify your ID on different platforms, and the transaction fees do not break the budget. And still, the conceptual leap of this project grows not from small commissions, or fast authentication. Before Rate3, no one could take real-world assets, and encrypt them into blockchain. Now it is possible, and your house or loan can become a cryptocurrency any time you want.
Millions of people do not have enough food to eat every day, oftentimes not because our planet cannot give us what we need for normal life, but because the food supply structure is impaired and unfair. The FoodCoin vendors promise to solve this problem in the near future. Their project is aimed at eliminating third parties in the agricultural industry, in the business-to-business and business-to-consumer chains. Using this blockchain, and its cryptocurrency, all participants of food production and distribution can interact directly, which will significantly decrease prices and increase the quality of what we eat and drink.
It works as follows — the producers place their products on the blockchain, and since this very moment every link of the chain, including markets, insurance and logistics companies, banks, and of course end buyers, get access to the full data:
- Manufacture and expiry date;
- Where and how it was produced;
- How it gets to the end consumer, etc.
This information is unalterable and transparent. In addition, this approach makes the global food market equally accessible for huge corporations and small local farms. Buyers, in their turn, can choose among a huge variety of ecological and high-quality products from all over the world.
Qtum engineers define themselves as prophets and promoters of blockchain economy. They’ve combined the advantages of Bitcoin and Ethereum, adopting the secure and simply protocol of the former and smart contracts of the latter. The founders of Qtum declare old blockchains, based on the proof-of-work concept, inefficient, and suggest implementing the proof-of-stake protocols in order to enable users to change the block size and transaction fees. If you add the upcoming lightning network for instant and cheap transactions, you’ll have the best ecosystem for your business.
The innovations of 2019 are Qtum x86 virtual machine, which works with all popular programming languages to advance the use of smart contracts, and Unita, which is the tool created to give real world apps some advantageous features of the blockchain technology. Qtum works on all desktop and mobile operating systems, and web, it is also compatible with hardware crypto wallets. It is a sophisticated and innovative product, which has a real future of doing business and economy.
This one is my favorite. Not because it is a new dawn of technology, or some panacea for a global problem, but because I find it fun. Those who launched Augur are definitely bright-minded and cool start-uppers. Their invention is a combination of a gambling (they prefer the word “forecasting”) platform, where you can bet on anything you like — political events, weather, sports, etc., and a blockchain. This means that the whole structure has no central office and is governed by the users. The predictions of large groups of people, who are awarded if they are correct, can be used by companies and local authorities to foresee election outcomes, business opportunities, etc.
Tron is a brand-new decentralized world wide web and operating system, where you can publish or enjoy watching and listening to all kinds of digital products, using special crypto coins — TRX. Its founder, Justin Sun, believes that blockchain can make the Internet a more comfortable place, and propagates the idea of decentralized applications to work with online content. However, one problem had to be solved before this dream could come true — blockchain-based apps were really hard to create and deploy due to the novelty of this approach. The mainnet of Tron is built to make it much easier.
From the view of a regular user, there will be no difference; the authors will create, and the audience will pay for their pieces of art. And still, this new system will give the opportunity for both parties to work directly with each other, through the peer-to-peer protocol. I do believe that sooner or later the centralized content resources will become history, although it is hard to imagine the Internet without YouTube. It will not disappear, though, but with the decentralized, blockchain-based web, it, and all its congeners, will not own the content anymore. Their role will be just to deliver the product to the user.
As you can see, I was right saying that blockchain is literally everywhere now, and it is not going to stop. The time when people will buy and sell everything to each other, without any boundaries, useless authorities, middlemen, and extra fees, is not far, I am sure. The startups I’ve told you about are the bright manifestation of this. I always tell my readers — invest in the future, because this is the best way to use money. Why do I think that blockchain is the future? Because it brings freedom, equality, and transparency. And this is not only a beautiful idea, this is also a huge business opportunity.