In an industry whose future is not yet absolute. Blockchain technology may not be mainstream yet, but it’s been reported there is about $1 Billion already invested in the future of this industry. I’ve compiled a list of the top 7 Blockchain startups who are making splashes and changing the the landscape.
Blockstream is a self-described ‘stealth bitcoin company’ working on accelerating the development of cryptocurrency, open asset and smart contact technology.
The company has been busy in the background, launching a beta of its banner sidechains project and announcing its first commercial product, Liquid, which is aimed at speeding up transfer times between bitcoin exchanges, in 2015.
Blockstream has announced raising $55 million USD in a Series A funding round. The injection of capital will go towards strengthening the company’s protocol and bring these technologies to the next level. The news comes after last week’s partnership with (PwC) to research blockchain technology and sidechain benefits within the fintech industry.
I’m excited to announce that we raised $55 million in Series A funding to further enhance our sidechain technology, expand our operations globally, and support new industry partnerships, bringing our total investments in the company to $76 million.
One of the projects that Blockstream has decided to explore further is the Lightning Network – a proposal that would move smaller bitcoin transactions off the blockchain so they could occur more quickly with reduced fees.
The Lightning Network has the ability to reduce the total number of transactions that need to be settled on the bitcoin blockchain, and thus removes their affect on the necessary total size of blocks.
The network faces technical challenges before it can go live, though, such as the integration of various changes to Bitcoin Core. I believe we will see most of these issues resolved and that Blockstream, or perhaps even a different party, will launch its version of Lightning during 2016.
This will greatly relieve the current buildup of pressure surrounding the block size discussion, and add to the robustness of the bitcoin network.
Ethereum is a new innovation in computing built from technologies and concepts originally pioneered in Bitcoin. Bitcoin is widely understood as a system for generating a shared world ledger that securely records bitcoin balances. Ethereum uses many of the same systems (such as blockchain technology and peer-to-peer networking) in order to generate a shared world computing platform that can flexibly but securely run any application users want to code (shared ledgers like Bitcoin included). To better understand what that means, let’s first go back to the beginning.
“Bitcoin is a book where you may write only in one language and only about movement of people. Ethereum is more flexible. Universal mathematical formula are the language of its book.”- Vitalik Buterin
Ethereum’s crowdsale was conducted via the sale of Ether (ETH), the underlying token used to operate the Ethereum platform . Ether is the “fuel” for the decentralized super computer — the currency used to pay for computation (whether that be app-building or interacting with “smart contracts”) on the Ethereum network.
- About $18.4 million was invested into Ether (ETH) during Ethereum’s crowdsale in the form of 31,000 Bitcoin (BTC).
- Ethereum’s successful fundraising was the catalyst for the next wave of blockchain related crowdfunding projects.
Augur offers a prediction market platform and “future of forecasting” on real world events. It allows users to place custom bets and trade real money worldwide by taking advantage of Ethereum’s decentralized infrastructure (the code resides in the Ethereum blockchain, so nobody can “shut it off”), as opposed to traditional products that may be subject to various legal and regulatory constraints in certain jurisdictions.
Here’s what’s truly amazing about Augur: It won’t be controlled by any person or entity, nor will it operate off of any one computer network. All the money in the system will be in Bitcoin, or other types of peer-to-peer cryptocurrency, so no credit card companies or banks need to be involved. If the system runs afoul of regulators—and if it’s successful, it most certainly will—they’ll find that there’s no company to sue, no computer hardware to pull out of the wall, and no CEO to lockup in a cage.
- About $5.3 million was invested into Augur’s Reputation (REP) tokens during the crowdsale, in the form of 19,000 BTC and 1.1 Million ETH.
- Roughly 4,800 accounts participated in the sale, equating to an average purchase of about $1,100. Sale info and data.
About half of the roughly $600,000 raised by Augur’s development team comes from Joe Costello, the successful tech entrepreneur who was once Steve Jobs’ top pick to become the CEO of Apple.
The Lisk team is working together with Microsoft to bring the Lisk decentralized application platform to the Azure cloud. As a first step Microsoft Azure has officially integrated Lisk into its Azure Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) program – meaning developers worldwide can develop, test, and deploy Lisk decentralized applications using Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform and infrastructure.
According to its co-founder and CEO, Max Kordek…
Lisk allows a user to “code, deploy, and use” their own decentralized applications in a “simple, fast, and secure” fashion on the Lisk network. Lisk touts its network’s “familiar working environment (using Node.js)”, “rich toolset”, and “easy to use APIs”. Core to Lisk’s success will be the quality of apps built upon it and its general userbase.
- About $5.8 million was invested into Lisk (LISK) during the crowdsale from 2/22/2016 to 3/21/2016, in the form of BTC and other blockchain assets. Sale info and data.
- Some 3,900 participants were involved in the sale, giving us an average purchase of about $1,500
Everledger provides an immutable ledger for diamond ownership and related transaction history verification for insurance companies, owners, claimants, and law enforcement agencies. It was founded on April 10, 2015, and is based in London, United Kingdom.
Everledger is a digital, global ledger that tracks and protects items of value. With the introduction of the ‘op_return’ functionality into blockchain, the ability to bind or add data into the blockchain ledger was enabled for the purpose of being able to add contract or asset data to a transaction. Everledger is using this functionality and the 40 bytes of arbitrary data available to bind transaction data as part of the hash, thereby securing the information into the ledger and making it immutable.
With Everledger, the record is tamper-free; it’s immutable and can therefore be trusted!
This immediately addresses one of the major issues of document tampering. With Everledger, the record is tamper-free; it’s immutable and can therefore be trusted! Everledger has established relationships with the major certificate houses in the US, Israel, India, and Antwerp. These houses grade and certify each diamond for the market. Everledger takes this data and creates a digital ‘DNA’ record comprising the 4Cs, 14 metadata reference points and the unique identification code for each stone.
“Diamonds are just the start, and our vision is so much bigger, she told the audience. “We’re going to help in combating counterfeiting, and that’s not a fifty-billion-dollar problem — that’s 1.7 trillion.” – Leanne Kemp
With this information, Everledger knows who owns which diamond and where it is. It can even trace the movement of diamonds on platforms such as eBay and Amazon as they are bought and sold. Everledger works with insurance companies when diamonds are reported stolen, and alongside Interpol and Europol where diamonds are crossing borders and entering black markets. Everledger has recently constructed a consumer app that enables users to add their own diamonds (and other valuable items) to the Everledger blockchain.
Everledger also provides a Smart Contracts platform to facilitate the transfer of ownership of diamonds to assist insurers in the recovery of items reported as lost and/or stolen. Smart Contracts will also enable a fundamental change in the diamond marketplace and the way they’re financed.
Since March, 830,000 diamonds have been added to the ledger, Kemp says. It’s a small team — just her and two others — and thanks to the accelerator, the startup is funded through to 2016.
Ripple Labs is a San Francisco-based company that is building commercial applications and infrastructure around the Ripple protocol. Founded in September 2012, Ripple Labs has built a distributed trustless exchange system around a consensus ledger as opposed to a blockchain. While there are many similarities between the two technologies and even some of the company employees (both David Schwartz and Stefan Thomas, were early Bitcoin adopters and developers), Ripple Labs is attempting to bridge the digital world with the traditional financial sector, connecting isolated payment systems into one rail.
“The future of fintech is bringing together like-minded companies, like @R3CEV and @Ripple. More details to come soon…,” Larsen
Ripple Labs announced today that it has closed a new $28m Series A funding round.
The company drew support from a mixture of new and existing investors, including the venture arms of US futures and options exchange CME Group and data storage firm Seagate Technology.
Other participants in the round include AME Cloud Ventures, ChinaRock Capital Management, China Growth Capital, Wicklow Capital, Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., Core Innovation Capital, Route 66 Ventures, RRE Ventures, Vast Ventures andVenture 51.
The company said that it planned to use the funds to fuel international expansion efforts, most notably in Asia. In a statement, Ripple Labs CEO Chris Larsen said the new support would also facilitate access to liquidity in the Ripple system, thereby enabling new customers to come onboard, adding:
“With investors like CME Group and Seagate joining the fold, we’re well positioned to accelerate adoption amongst these key customers.”
The announcement follows months of speculation that the company was raising a new round of funding. In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ripple Labs was seeking as much as $30m in a Series A round. Ripple Labs raised $3.5m in seed funding in 2013.
The funding disclosure comes weeks after Ripple Labs was fined by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for violations of the US Bank Secrecy Actcoin.
Coinbase is a secure online platform for buying, selling, transferring, and storing bitcoin. Our mission is to create an open financial system for the world and to be the leading global brand for helping people convert digital currency into and out of their local currency.
- We make buying and selling bitcoin easy.
- Sending or receiving bitcoin between online wallets, friends, or merchants on Coinbase is free!*
- We handle security and backups so you don’t have to worry.
- We are a “one stop shop” – we offer a wallet, an exchange, and merchant tools within one simple interface.
- Coinbase is a platform on which many bitcoin applications are being built using our API.
Coinbase announced that it has raised a serious $75 million growth round led by DFJ. Other participants include USAA and NYSE, while existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, and Ribbit Capital also participated.
It’s the largest funding round to date for a Bitcoin-focused company, and comes amid the cryptocurrency’s recent slide to fresh lows. The currency is trading at around $212 today, down from above $1,000 more than a year ago.
“The timing reminds me of the post dot-com bust,” said CEO Brian Armstrong. Google was started in 1998 and people were saying that the Internet bubble was over. But these massive companies get built over long time periods of time. It’s not really about the price. It’s about building something useful and I think people are missing the bigger picture.”
The company also attracted the participation of several Wall Street institutions including The New York Stock Exchange, which Armstrong touted as a sign of Bitcoin’s increasing legitimacy in the financial world. Former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer also made personal investments in the company. Armstrong said the company’s new strategic investors all put in at least $1 million.