While many people believe that blockchain companies are exclusively associated with cryptocurrencies, this is not the case. The term blockchain originally emerged back in 1991 as a means of preventing the backdating of digital documents. Due to the structure of blockchain systems it is extremely difficult to tamper with the historic information, which allows documents to be tracked anonymously. In 2009 the blockchain system was used to trade digital currency in the shape of Bitcoin, creating huge demand for blockchain technology. We will now take a look at some of the leading lights in the UK blockchain industry.
As the name suggests, Blockchain was one of the first movers and shakers in the blockchain industry. The company itself was established back in 2011, with the company’s technology used to create a digital wallet for the likes of Bitcoin and other leading cryptocurrencies. This is a company trading in more than 140 countries, which has been involved in transactions totalling in excess of $200 billion.
The website has since expanded into commercial transactions, verification of transactions and is a major source of educational material for those looking at cryptocurrencies. While many new blockchain companies have come and gone, there is no doubt that the original Blockchain has been a major contributor to the ever expanding cryptocurrency market.
Even though the blockchain industry is heavily associated with cryptocurrencies, it is also having a major impact on other areas of business. Blockverify is a relatively new company, set up in 2014, with the aim of using blockchain technology as an anti-counterfeit solution. At the click of a button the company is able to:-
- Differentiate between counterfeit and original products
- Highlight goods diverted from their original destination
- Track and trace fraudulent transactions
- Provide details of stolen merchandise
The company is active in a number of different industries such as:-
- Luxury items
The company’s main focus in the early days was pharmaceuticals and the identifying and tracking of counterfeit goods. When you bear in mind the potential dangers associated with counterfeit pharmaceuticals, this proved to be an extremely useful launchpad. What does the future hold for Blockverify?
While always referred to as Dadi this is actually an acronym for Decentralised Architecture for a Democratic Internet - something of a mouthful! This is one of a new generation of blockchain companies, with the sole aim of creating a secure Internet with no central control. After initially raising $30 million the company has created a highly efficient and cost-effective means of delivering digital content. While not necessarily mainstream at the moment, Dadi has created a faster and safer Internet platform which is certainly growing in popularity. Even though similar companies have come and gone in the past, Dadi has received support from an array of experts connected with the likes of the BBC and Barclays.-
Unless you have an in-depth knowledge of the blockchain industry, it can be difficult to visualise the release of new products and new services. This service is more aimed towards the corporate market, offering safer more secure means of distributing digital content. While many of us take the Internet for granted these days, it will be interesting to see whether Dadi is able to create as much interest around this very impressive system.
When you consider that SETL was only established in 2015, this company has certainly made great strides in its early years. Focusing on what many people would deem the “traditional” industry for blockchain, SETL is striving to offer a real-time financial settlement system. The idea is simple, peer-to-peer money transfers are much quicker and, using the SETL system, there is instant verification and tight security. While still a relatively young company, it has certainly ruffled a few feathers in both the financial and blockchain industries.
The group offers an array of core services which take in:-
- Secure messaging between sender and receiver with no security risk
- Reliable and trusted verification services
- Swift transfer of funds between sender and receiver
The ability to act on a peer-to-peer basis means fewer actions, lower costs and, using blockchain, there is an anonymous but secure verification trail. While it is difficult to say with any real confidence which blockchain companies will blossom in the future, there is no doubt that SETL is one to watch.
Described by the company as a “trusted cryptocurrency brokerage”, it is hard to disagree when you consider the reputation of BC Bitcoin. Using the BC Bitcoin blockchain system it is possible to transact in more than 100 different cryptocurrencies. Instant deposits and withdrawals in pounds, euros and dollars have attracted both experienced and relatively new investors/traders in digital currencies.-
The management team consists of experts in algorithms and trading systems, legal compliance, web marketing and over-the-counter trading services. There is also a very strong financial markets theme throughout the management team which has certainly helped to build the company’s profile. Despite the fact that BC Bitcoin was only created in 2017 it is taking the cryptocurrency market by storm. As interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies continues to rise, BC Bitcoin appears very well-placed to take advantage.-
Investing in blockchain companies
As we touched on above, there is a general misconception that blockchain companies are exclusive to the cryptocurrency market. In reality, blockchain technology has been around since well before the first mainstream (and non-mainstream) digital currency. This is a technology which can be used in many different areas of business such as:-
- Messaging applications
- Hedge funds
- Voting (particularly topical in light of the US presidency election)
- Online advertising
- Cloud storage
The key to the success of blockchain businesses is annual recurring revenues, which help greatly with cash flow, future investment, profitability and long-term growth. There are a number of elements to take into consideration with regards to the calculation of annual recurring revenues, well documented on the Getlatka website.
It is also important to note that there are specific risks associated with blockchain companies. Due to competition in this area, an investment would still be considered relatively high risk especially when compared to low-risk investment instruments such as guaranteed investment certificates (GIC). What's a GIC?
A GIC is often associated with Canadian retirement plans, as it provides a low-risk deposit based fixed rate return, partially backed by the Canadian government. It is fair to say that an investment in a GIC is at the opposite end of the risk spectrum compared to the fast-moving, competitive blockchain industry.
Cryptocurrencies, blockchain companies and the future-
If we cast our minds back to 2009, which saw the emergence of Bitcoin, nobody could have predicted the rocky ride that the industry would experience. Heavily associated with blockchain technology, many digital currencies have come and gone while the mainstream operators have remained. As we touched on above, the key to long-term investment success for blockchain companies is annual recurring revenues, probably better known as a subscription based business model.
The blockchain technology brings together an array of different characteristics which include:-
- Extremely high levels of security
- The ability to remain anonymous
- No central control
It is fair to say that governments and regulators around the world are as yet unsure how to handle digital currencies, marketed in tandem with blockchain technology. We know that these two industries rely heavily on interactive marketing although investor and user appetite will also be strong drivers going forward.-
The last couple of years have seen institutional, venture capital and hedge funds significantly increasing their investment across numerous cryptocurrency and blockchain companies. A recent article by Institutional Asset Manager has highlighted this significant jump in investment and planned increases going forward. Even though institutional investors have been active in blockchain and digital currency companies for some time, the emergence of a future regulatory structure is to a certain extent reducing some of the risks. The fact that not all leading digital currencies/blockchain companies will survive longer term has resulted in a relatively broad spread of investment across the sector. Basically, spreading the risk and hedging bets.-
While digital currencies/blockchain technology were around prior to Bitcoin’s emergence from the shadows in 2009, it is fair to say that they have only recently become prominent. The initial volatility in cryptocurrency exchange rates was expected in the early days, but was not helpful for investors looking at more stable investment opportunities. It is also worth looking at traditional currency volatility over the last 10 years, with the US dollar British pound exchange rate a prime example. We are certainly living in unfamiliar times but blockchain technology is playing an integral part in the development and expansion of digital currencies and beyond.
The main thread running through all blockchain technology opportunities is the high level of security, lack of central control and ability to remain relatively anonymous. Over the next 10 years there are two major factors which will likely come into play. The regulatory framework is taking shape, digital currencies are here to stay and government/regulators finally appear to be accepting of this. There is also a trend amongst the general public away from controlled establishment currencies towards those where there is less control, i.e. digital currencies, and a degree of anonymity.
In the eyes of many people, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies go hand-in-hand. While the first stage of their joint development has been volatile and eventful, many people believe these two industries are still in their relative infancy. Interesting times ahead!
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