Bitcoin is a technology that’s gathered a lot of interest in recent years. While there are people who believe it’s capable of revolutionising modern finance, there are many who fear it promotes crime on the internet.
If you’ve come across the digital currency, you’ve probably heard of blockchain. First conceptualised in 2008 by practice when Bitcoin emerged, it’s a type of computer database that can process ordered data in real-time. Entries are secure by design and cannot be edited retroactively.
The blockchain plays a crucial role in Bitcoin, serving as its public ledger for transactions made by users. But while that may be the case, the technology has evolved, and the potential is being realised in a plethora of industries. It can be used for medical records, identity management and general transactions. There are a ton of great start-ups developing innovative products and services based on blockchain technology.
BTL Group, which is a start-up founded by brothers Guy and Hugh Halford-Thompson in 2015, is one of them. It has created its own proprietary blockchain platform. The product uses a distributed ledger system and smart contracts to improve efficiencies in a range of industries.
The company began using its technology in the remittance space, allowing people to send small or large amounts of money at an affordable cost across the world. It’s since started working with large companies and banks to encourage the adoption of Blockchain, and has teamed up with Visa to explore the potential of cross border interbank payments.
Blockstack is another young company doing interesting things with blockchain. Founded by entrepreneurs Ryan Shea and Muneeb Ali, the firm has launched a decentralised internet platform to give users ownership of the apps and data on their devices, removing the need for servers.
It uses several APIs to authenticate users and encrypt their data, and developers are given a way to develop apps without the hassle of maintaining large databases. The New York-based company is scaling the platform with support of the open-source developer community, and it’s already one of the largest non-financial blockchain technologies.
Chain, a technology company based in San Francisco, has had a lot of success with blockchain. Founded in 2014, it builds, deploys and manages blockchain networks to streamline the way financial products and services are run. The aim of this, according to the company, is create a more connected financial industry.
In a way, the platform gives organisations a way to get blockchain networks set up easily. The Chain Protocol, which is firm’s leading innovation, lets single entities or groups manage assets through blockchain. The company has already raised more than $40 million in funding, and it’s supported by the likes of Capital One, Nasdaq, Orange, Citigroup, Fiserv and Visa.
If you’re a creative, it’s essential to get copyright on your work, or you risk someone using your ideas without your permission. Blockai wants to make copyright protection more accessible. You simply upload your assets online, and Blockai then generates a timestamp and stores it in the blockchain network.
Once you’ve done this, you also get a certificate to prove that you have copyright for your designs. Although the firm is still in the early stages, it hopes to become one of the leading copyright methods within the next five years.
Building blockchain applications is becoming an increasingly lucrative opportunity for developers, and BlockCypher makes the process a lot easier. The company describes itself as the Amazon Web Services of blockchain, offering developers the tools and infrastructure they need to integrate blockchain into their products. It uses simple web APIs, cloud technology and data centres to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Blockchain technology may form a fundamental part of Bitcoin as a public ledger, but that’s not to say that the potential isn’t broad. The fact is, blockchain is one of the most exciting technologies of today, and companies are developing a range of transformative products based on it. From finance to e-commerce, it seems like everyone wants a slice of blockchain.