Blockchain and Bitcoin are interlinked words that more often seem to be the same thing to many people. However, the two are different from each other even though it is impossible to exclude one from another.
Bitcoin versus Blockchain
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that runs on Bitcoin blockchain technology. A blockchain is composed of a set of blocks of recordings of transactions and activities. These blocks interlink through several computers, also known as nodes in the blockchain sphere.
All the computers in a blockchain keep records of the transactions, making the blockchain a hackproof online transactions ledger.
The blockchain technology idea came to life in 1991 through researchers named Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta. These researchers wanted to create a tamper-proof timestamp system. However, Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, made the two researchers’ idea more tangible. Satoshi Nakamoto created the Bitcoin blockchain in 2009.
The launch of the bitcoin blockchain became one of the initial blockchain uses in the crypto world. Soon after the bitcoin blockchain launch, blockchain uses transversed through numerous fields outside the cryptocurrency industry.
The finance industry became one of the early adopters of blockchain technology usage in proofing financial transactions. The healthcare and the education industries followed suit.
Blockchain Scaleups in Europe
The increased blockchain technology usage in numerous fields necessitated intermediary companies that offer ready blockchain-related services. For instance, blockchain scaleups in Europe have become common in the recent past.
The UK has seen numerous startups come from the ground up within the blockchain technology space. Blockchain companies in the UK are majorly London-based. London is the gateway to Europe. As a result, most of the startups sprout in the capital.
Notable Blockchain Startups in the UK
Coadjute, a property listing blockchain startup in the UK, was founded in 2018. The founders aimed at providing a one-stop shop to property stakeholders. The platform enables stakeholders to access trusted information about the properties in question. The startup hosts key property information such as the building records on a blockchain network accessible to anyone interested.
The overall effect on the property market is the increase in the efficiency of property listings and transactions. This blockchain startup in the UK attests to the divergent blockchain uses since inception.
Just like the Coadjute, this startup lists properties in a single platform. This platform, founded in 2018, is in the form of blockchain technology.
OpenBrix brings stakeholders such as property sellers, buyers, brokers, real estate agents and owners to operate under one umbrella. The result is easing transactions and property management in a decentralized fashion.
Genome.io is a DNA data storage blockchain supported by the Ethereum blockchain. Blockchain technology has evolved to the point where it is possible to develop customized blockchains on pre-existing blockchains.
Genome.io launched on the Ethereum blockchain in 2017 to enable users to store their genome sequencing data securely.
Also, the blockchain allows the users to share their genome data anonymously, say to research institutions.
Provenance is a startup that delved into the development of blockchains for e-commerce businesses. The startup enables businesses to track their chain supply in real-time. Provenance also enable consumers to gain knowledge about the origin of these products. In this manner, this establishes transparency in conducting business.
Providence has developed an app through which socially and environmentally conscious businesses get rewarded by the shoppers. Providence’s commitment to the environmental soundness of businesses presents an undiscovered plethora of positive blockchain uses that are yet to be discovered or pursued.
AiX is a perfect illustration of the untapped potential of marrying the two emerging revolutionary technologies, blockchain and artificial intelligence(AI).
AiX was founded in 2017 to provide crypto and regular traders with an AI-based trading platform that gives them complete control over their investments.
Also, the relay of information between the two parties, the trader and the platform, is easy. AiX makes this possible by using chatbots to communicate feedback analysis to the users.
In April 2020, Innovate UK awarded AiX €289k grant to support their efforts in developing the platform, which is both innovative and life-changing to the traders.
11:FS is a research and consultancy firm founded in 2016 and operate within the niche of fintech, blockchain technology and crypto.
The startup is in the growth stage and has raised about €3M with DNB investors from Norway. This startup has a promising future evidenced by its “Consultancy of the Year” award received from the British Bank Awards in March 2020.
Fetch.AI, founded in 2018, delves into blockchain development that integrates artificial intelligence (AI) with blockchain technology. Through machine learning, the blockchain offers smart ledger services that legitimize transactions made in the platform.
Fetch AI employs open-source tools which allow users to adapt their blockchain experience to suit their needs.
The surge in crypto use has had a share of its demerits. For instance, funding of terrorism through cryptocurrency. Coinfirm, a startup in the UK saw the need to close this gap between crypto offerings and terrorism by developing a compliance-based transaction blockchain. This blockchain will not only aid in fighting terrorism but also money laundering. The blockchain achieves these goals by requiring users to register and authenticate any data on the blockchain.
Cryptograph came to life in 2018 with an eye for enabling artists to create unique collectible digital assets. These assets cannot be stolen or forged due to the underlying blockchain technology that makes them impenetrable.
Trading of the collectibles is possible due to the digital wallet in the blockchain. The digital wallet acts like a bank account on the blockchain that houses cryptograph.
Refinerry engages in the creation of financial asset management tools and softwares, especially in the areas of commercial real estate. The startup is small as the founders are recent graduates from University College London.
Blockchain delves into providing more Bitcoin tools such as bitcoin statistical analytics and online Bitcoin wallet. Blockchain boasts of a huge financial capability owing to its extensive financial reserves. The startup secured a whopping €50.5M through its two rounds of fundraisers.
The fundraisers made Blockchain one of the best-funded blockchain technology companies in the UK. The startup growth has been consistent since its inception in 2014. In 2018, it appeared in LinkedIn Top Startups UK.
Adhara, founded in 2018, is a liquidity management and payment processing firm in the UK. This firm employs smart contract ledger protocols to manage multi-currency liquidity, FX and international payment as tokenized money.
Zamna was incepted in 2016. The startup develops blockchains and softwares with digital identity validation protocols. The combination of machine learning, big data analysis and biometrics achieves the Zamna protocol. Zamna’s clients are mostly government agencies that require some form of verification tools for different set protocols, rules and regulations.
Other zamna clients are air travel companies that require specialized verification of passengers’ identity in line with safety operations and protocols.
Limechain is a Bulgaria-based startup founded in 2017. The Startup was cofounded by Nick Todorov, Vladislav Ivanov, George Spasov and Chris Veselinov. Limechain is a blockchain development company specializing in smart contracts, crowd sale and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO).
The platform has gained traction because it enables end-users to freely make transactions for decentralized applications(dApps) with fiat currency without registration or creating a crypto wallet first. The end-user only needs a working credit card to make payments to sellers who accept crypto.
Odem came into existence in 2017 in Zug, Switzerland. It seeks to revolutionize the education and employment sectors by developing a universally accessible and affordable platform.
The startup’s platform enables students to keep their academic records forever on the blockchain. Odem is a true manifestation of how blockchain’s influence is cutting across several fields, even some of which have been unimaginable.
Colendi is a Swiss startup founded in 2016 by Bulent Tekmen, Mihriban Ersin Tekmen, Eray Eren and Serkan Omerbeyoglu.
Colendi aims to develop global financial passports for its users. Colendi uses blockchain technology to execute verifiable and accurate credit scoring evaluation protocol. Users who successfully undergo this evaluation get an ID that acts as proof of creditworthiness. Colendi has renewed hope in people who are not legible for financial services in the traditional banking set-up. These unbanked persons will be legible to receive microfinancing if they pass the verification on the platform.
Colendi also seeks to create avenues for the microfinancing of small business across the world. Colendi will achieve the goal through its simplistic creditworthiness evaluation method.
Colendi has gained massive recognition of keen eyes in Europe and particularly in Switzerland. The company joined the ranks of the top 10 Swiss startups to watch in 2019.
Settlemint is Belgian startup founded in 2016 by Matthew Van Niekerk and Roderik Van der Veer. The startup blockchain tools enable blockchain design without starting from scratch. The customer saves on time and resources that would have been used in building a new blockchain.
Settlemint offers scalable blockchain design through the “Blockchain as a Service” (BPaS). BPas provides customized design interphase to users who may want to come up with their resources at cost.
Solve.Care was founded in 2017 by Pradeep Goel. The Estonia based startup, as the name suggests, got founded to solve healthcare services worldwide. Solve.Care is aimed at bridging the gap between healthcare industry players such as doctors, nurses, patients and pharmacists.
Solve.Care also developed mechanisms to enable payments between the stakeholders in the healthcare industry. Solve.Care enables these payments as it operates on the Ethereum blockchain using the ERC20 token standard.
Bankera was founded in Lithuania in 2017 by Vytautas Karalevicius. Vytautas aimed to combine the crypto economy with traditional economies to offer crypto-friendly services. Bankera’s main effects are on the cost-effectiveness, accessibility and speed of blockchain transactions. Accessibility is in the form of crypto-backed loans awarded to the users.
Blockchain technology has found multiple uses in many fields other than crypto, even though it still falls under emerging technologies with others like artificial intelligence.
Blockchain alone has contributed immensely to fields such as education, finance and healthcare. Combining the two technologies will cement the importance and the need for blockchain technology usage in different segments of our daily life. This daily usage could range from simple payments such as utility bill payments to more complex activities such as executing international business contracts.
Blockchain promises to offer ease of doing certain activities in a tightly secured environment-only time will tell.
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