The most amazing Blockchain projects recently launched

The last year was the third in a row nearly doubling the amount Blockchain-based projects launched on GitHub. 15,000 were launched in 2015; 26,000 in 2016 and nearly 50,000 in 2017.

These impressive numbers were taken from the annual Deloitte report on the Blockchain technology evolution. The interest in practical applications of the tech is rapidly growing, as Bitcoin nearly reached a whopping $20,000 per coin this December and multiple Blockchain-based services and systems go live across the globe.

However, harsh realities of startup life do apply to the blockchain startups. Out of 26,000 blockchain-based Github projects launched in 2016, only 8% are active as of 2017. Deloitte researchers elaborated on the matter, saying that:

Only 8% of the Blockchain-based projects on GitHub are active (were updated at least once during the last 6 months). Organizations perform better than individuals, as 15% of their submitted projects remain active vs 7% of the individual projects.

San Francisco was mentioned as a home area for nearly 1,400 Github project owners, with London climbing to the second place with over 900 projects, and New York sitting on the third step with about 780. In addition, Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing played home for a huge number of cryptocurrency-related projects, mostly aimed at scalable cross-currency trading.

Blockchain apps and systems from industry leaders

Japanese Fujitsu corporation released a cryptocurrency exchange system this November, while the central banks of Hong Kong and Singapore began developing their own blockchain-based network. IBM announced their blockchain-based cross-border payment platform, developed in conjunction with a number of international financial bodies and Stellar, the open-source network behind Ripple, the world’s third-largest market cap cryptocurrency. Walmart is using blockchain-based applicationsto track food and underpin unmanned delivery services.

Thus said, the interest in blockchain is steaming and the hype train does not show any sign of slowing down. However, as Bitcoin becomes largely a toy for the rich investors (we know you are breeding your Crypto Kitties already, don’t you?), much of the low- and mid-size trading is currently directed at lower-priced cryptocurrencies. For example, Litecoin showed 70x growth from $5 to $350 in slightly less than 6 months!

Joshua Nussbaum of New-York VC firm Compound collected a list of Blockchain projects that gained significant traction in 2017. These are split according to the following categories:

  1. Currencies (including the ones with emphasis on privacy)
  2. Developer tools (smart contracts, scaling, oracles, security, compliance, etc.)
  3. Fintech (trading, insurance, lending, investment management, etc.)
  4. Security (governance, communication, identity protection, etc.)
  5. Value exchange (content monetization, file storage, mesh networking, etc.)
  6. Shared data (IoT, logistics, content curation, reputation management, etc.)
  7. Authenticity (data values, ticketing systems, etc.)

We list the projects in these categories and provide brief explanations on each of them.

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency markets are one of the most profitable fields of investment nowadays, with commission sums totalling $200-$400 million USD daily. Despite Bitcoin being the oldest and the most popular cryptocurrency, various coins like Ethereum, Litecoin, or Ripple aim to improve certain aspects of the protocol. For example, Monero and ZCash specialize in concealed transactions, which can be of use to discreet investors or enterprises aiming to keep their investments protected from prying eyes.

Many companies and businesses worldwide (from small vendors all the way up to transnational giants like Amazon) add cryptocurrencies as the means of payment for their products and services. Bitcoin is the leader of the list, as it is the industry leader, yet it is quite limited in possibilities with its transaction pool and 2 MB block size. Other cryptocurrencies, with bigger blocks and better throughput will rule this wave.

Developer Tools

There are multiple projects oriented at improving the functionality and scalability of the available infrastructure. These products might even serve as components for the future Web 3.0 devstack, as they prioritize interoperability and decentralized apps. The tools like, Geth, NuCypher, ZeppelinOS, Truebit and Mattereum can become crucial in combining features and functionality from multiple protocols to form new applications.

FinTech projects

Just as a stock or foreign exchange is a place where stocks or currencies can be traded for one another, the need for a Decentralized Exchange or DEX for trading tokens and cryptocurrencies is rapidly becoming obvious. The tools like 0x protocol, Bancor, and Counterparty enable such transactions, allowing the investors to adjust their investment profiles to their liking with ease. This also enables the blossoming of various lending projects like WeTrust and funds/investment management solutions like IConomi.

Security

As cryptocurrency protocols are trustless by default, they can serve as a perfect medium and provide the required functionality to enable the world where the security is not achieved through the strict standards induced by authoritative bodies, but through unbeatable incentives and unbreakable rules. The projects like BlockStack, Aragon or RivetZ aim to do this.

Value exchange

Being a true upheaval the blockchain technology is, it allows implementing the ways to exchange multiple values without a currency as an intermediate. The most obvious example is the cloud computing industry, where various computational resources are now sold separately (serverless computing, storage space, etc.). Why not trading the excesses of these resources? The giants currently battling for domination in these economies of scale (like the AWS vs Azure competition) can be overthrown only by better-organized economies of scale, and blockchain is primed to do the job.

The final thoughts

A multitude of blockchain projects have started or accomplished in the last year. We have described some of them in our previous articles on ICO as the future of startup funding, a release of the MasterCard blockchain API, and blockchain applications in the energy industry. Cryptocurrencies and various applications of their protocols open even more possibilities for optimization of resource allocation and better return on investments.

The point to keep in mind, though, is that when 1 machine begins doing the work 10 people used to do, these 10 people become redundant and, consequently, unemployed. Thus said, when you consider playing with a new tech, be prepared for the need to tear off several long-term employeeswith decent industry experience, or trying to turn them into sales, which is least likely going to work.

On the other hand, if you do not tackle this problem at once, it is your job and business that might be in peril, if the competition employs the blockchain first.

Initially, I’ve posted this story on my company’s blog.

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