I have written about some of the innovative startups around the bitcoin blockchain technology in my previous post. In this post, I will be covering some of the startups related to Bitcoin and I will also be covering some alternative blockchains (alt-coins or alt-chains) to Bitcoin that are potentially promising.
Syscoin is one of the lesser known alternative blockchains out there. Coinmarketcap, website that tracks crypto-currencies now lists more than 700 different crypto-currencies.
Syscoin is similar to bitcoin in the sense that it has its own blockchain and crypto-currency, however in addition to these two main components, it also has built-in; decentralized marketplace, aliases, digital certificates, and data-alias (datastore).
Most of the other alt-coins (alternative coins to Bitcoin) are quite similar to each other and similar to Bitcoin in itself, with just a few tweaks in the algorithm. But Syscoin has fundamental differences to Bitcoin as mentioned above, which makes it one of the unique alt-coins that stand out from the rest.
Additionally it appears that it has a strong founding team with clear (medium-term) product roadmap that has been outlined on their website.
Ethereum is probably the most promising alternative blockchain application platform that is getting most of the spotlight at the moment besides Bitcoin and it’s rightly so. Keyword here is “blockchain app platform”, think of it as – if Bitcoin is a settlement and payment protocol, then Ethereum is a blockchain app platform. One provides bare bone functionality for financial settlement and value transfer, another provides ability to build any decentralized blockchain based apps.
Ethereum comes with its own programming language called Solidity for programming decentralized apps or smart contracts on Ethereum blockchain.
Ethereum has become popular thanks to its outgoing founder Vitalik Buterin, who goes around the world organizing DevCons for Ethereum project. I would say Ethereum’s vision mainly relies on Vitalik’s own vision. And as long as Vitalik is leading the Ethereum project, it should be heading to steady success.
Here is a list of Ethereum dapps (decentralized apps) http://dapps.ethercasts.com
There are over 40 million users who are using this particular ad blocking plugin to browse the web without ads. Browsing the web without ads is great for users, but not so great for content publishers. Because no banners means, no revenue for them.
Wired.com even blocks you from reading their articles if you have ad-blocker plugins installed in your browser.
So, this stand-off between users and content publishers might potentially be resolved in the future by browsers like Brave, which directly pays users and content publishers alike via its built-in Bitcoin wallets.
“Brave users will be able to choose whether to block or replace the original ads with clean ads from the Brave network. The users who choose to replace ads will receive 15 percent of ad revenue in their wallets, which they will be able to use to buy ad-free access to their favorite sites. Publishers will receive at least 55 percent of ad revenue, which Brave hopes to increase to 70 percent.” (source)
The word “decentralized” has been abused lately, but in the context of Bitsquare, the meaning of decentralized is very important.
Bitsquare is a decentralized bitcoin exchange platform. That means, there is no middleman between the users who would like to buy and sell bitcoins. You can directly buy bitcoins from other users and you can also sell your own bitcoins to other users without going through 3rd party exchange platforms like Mt.Gox, Btc-e, Poloniex etc.
There are couple of advantages for P2P bitcoin exchange like Bitsquare over the conventional 3rd party bitcoin exchanges.
- It’s fully decentralized – there is no middleman between buyers and sellers. Users deal with other users directly. This makes it safer for users from losing their funds to bitcoin exchange platform scams and bankruptcies like Mt.Gox and Cryptsy.
- Manage your own funds – your funds are with you and not with any particular exchange platform. As long as you keep them safe by following safety best practices, they will be safe.
- Private – no one except trading partners exchange personally identifiable data.
- Open – every aspect of the project is transparent.
OpenBazaar is a different way to do online commerce. Instead of visiting a website, you download and install a program on your computer that directly connects you to other people looking to buy and sell goods and services with you.
This peer to peer network isn’t controlled by any company or organization – it’s a community of people who want to engage in trade directly with each other. Again the word “decentralized” is important in OpenBazaar’s context.
Obviously, the potential misuse of the platform is there. So, it’s going to be a challenge for law enforcement agencies to tackle this new area – P2P e-commerce platforms – to keep the innovation alive yet within the legal boundaries.
Storj is an alt-chain (alternative blockchain) that has its own crypto-currency called storjcoin. When cloud storage service providers like Amazon and Dropbox talk about “cloud”, they actually mean multiple data-centers being located around the world, thus effectively reducing the downtime of the apps that are hosted on their servers. And if one server goes down, another will take over (failover). But when decentralized platforms like Storj mention about their services being “on the cloud”, they mean it in the exact sense of the word.
Storj is building a distributed cloud storage service that can’t be censored or have downtime. This is because their service is truly peer-to-peer (P2P). Think of it as one file being stored in 100,000 users’ PCs all over the world, if one PC goes down or is switched off, there will be 999,999 others who can replace it. That’s is true redundancy, and that is true cloud.
Due to it’s scalability, Storj in theory will be able to keep the costs lower than its current competitors (see to the right).
Business model of Storj is two-fold. 1) End-users or companies who are willing to pay for the service. 2) Users or companies who are willing to make some extra income by renting their extra hard-disk space on their PCs or servers.
Storj is currently in Beta.