Blockchain is a hot topic right now, and for a good reason seeing as it has the potential to revolutionize how we do business. From the healthcare industry to government agencies and retail investors, blockchain transactions are transforming the world. Wondering which blockchain startups to watch in the digital space?Check out our list below. These companies are at the forefront of this exciting technology and are poised for success in the years to come. But first, let’s see what a blockchain startup is and the defining qualities of both successful and failed companies.
What Is a Blockchain Startup?
A blockchain startup is a company that uses the distributed ledger technology of blockchain to create innovative new products or services. Tech-savvy entrepreneurs who see the potential of blockchain to disrupt traditional business models often found blockchain startups or crypto projects. While most blockchain startups are based in the US or Europe, the industry proliferates in other parts of the world, such as Asia and Africa. Some of the most successful enterprise blockchain startups include Ripple, Blockstream, and BitFury. These companies have raised millions of dollars from investors and are leading the way in developing new blockchain applications in the digital marketplace. The numbers speak for themselves:
Fortune Business Insights™ forecasts that the blockchain market will reach $69.04 billion in 2027. That’s a massive leap considering that the market size for blockchain was just $2.01 billion in 2019. According to Gartner, 75% of IoT technology adopters in the USA already use blockchain. Moreover, 86% of these adopters use both technologies in several projects, while 20% offer blockchain-based services. US’s share of overall blockchain funding is now 21%, and there are 83.40 million Blockchain active users worldwide. The share of supply chain leaders planning to invest in the blockchain is 40%.
What Makes a Successful Blockchain Startup?
Anyone following the blockchain & crypto industry closely will know there’s no shortage of startups trying to get in on the action. And, of course, with any new industry, there will always be a few bad apples. But what separates promising startups from the bad ones?Here are a few qualities that all successful blockchain startups have in common:
Qualities of Successful Startups
They’re solving a real problem: The best startups in the blockchain ecosystem are solving a problem that exists in the real world. Therefore, they're not just trying to create a new token or crypto accessible platform for no reason.
They have a strong team: A startup is only as good as its team, and the best blockchain startups have teams experienced in both the blockchain industry and the specific problem they’re trying to solve.
They’re backed by credible investors: Investors are always looking for the next big thing but also looking for teams they can trust. The best startups have both.
They have a solid product: A great idea is nothing without excellent execution, and the best blockchain startups have products that are both innovative and well-made.
They’re resilient: The blockchain industry is still in its early years. So, a successful startup will need a solid marketing strategy to raise awareness and drive adoption. It will also need to be flexible, use the right automation tools (e.g. smart contracts) and hire the right talent. For example, many successful blockchain startups outsource app development to India thanks to cost efficiency, higher education, and round-the-clock productivity.
Qualities of Failed Startups
These qualities are what make a successful blockchain startup. Without them, the chances of success are slim. Let’s look at the reverse of the medal:
They tend to be highly centralized, with a few key individuals controlling most of the tokens. This leaves them vulnerable to manipulation and illegitimate transactions compared to decentralized startups.
They tend to be opaque, with little transparency into their operations or decision-making process. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for investors to assess the risks involved in investing in them.
Failed blockchain startups often have unrealistic business models not supported by sound fundamentals. As a result, they often burned through their funding without achieving any meaningful results.
They don’t focus on solving a problem. Instead of building relevant solutions to solve one of their customer's most pressing needs, failed startups have no vision or strategy. They also tend to focus more on making money rather than supporting their customers with valuable solutions.
They don’t have well-organized teams. Blockchain startups that fail don’t have clearly defined roles within their teams. And since people don’t know what they’re doing, they can’t take single-minded, concerted steps towards one goal. That MO implies a slew of failed investment opportunities, wrong decisions, and wasted resources.
These are just some of the qualities that failed blockchain startups share. If you’re considering investing in a blockchain startup, do your due diligence to avoid becoming another casualty of the crypto winter.
11 Blockchain Startups to Watch in 2022
Now that we’ve seen what can make or break a blockchain, startup let’s see the 11 most exciting blockchain startups in 2022.
When it started: 2018
Specialty: Trading blockchain items
Size: 5-10 employees
Technology stack: Viewport Meta, iPhone / Mobile Compatible, SPF
Mintable started in 2018 in Singapore. It’s a small company with 10-50 employees. The company advertises itself as “the best digital items marketplace to sell blockchain items,” but there’s more that users can do apart from selling:People can use this Ethereum blockchain-based platform to create, distribute, and trade their digital files. For that, they’ll use non-fungible tokens (NFTs).What sets Mintable apart from its competitors? Mintable attracts new users through its intuitive platform and numerous facilities. For example, users benefit from a zero fees week every month and can easily browse a slew of collections by category. People also have various free reading resources and benefit from instant payments. But possibly the best advantage is getting VIP treatment consisting of 24/7 customer service.
When it started: 2014
Specialty: Compliance, investigations, and purpose-built solutions
Size: 648 employees
Technology stack: 24 technologies, including HTML5, Google Analytics, jQuery
Located in New York, Chainalysis offers blockchain solutions to companies, banks, and government agencies in over 70 countries worldwide. The unique selling point is integrating a comprehensive package using blockchain technology to promote safer interactions in the online space. With CA funding from the secondary market, Chainalysis takes pride in the fact that its solutions have been used to solve prominent criminal cases, making the cryptocurrency market safer for everyone. That’s why Chainalysis thrives:Having identified this need for safety in the crypto/blockchain world, it uses all its resources to solve this problem. Blockchain networks' security has become Chainalysis’ mission, and safety is its core value. The platform uses artificial intelligence to monitor users' activity, identify stolen funds, and protect people's sensitive data. As such, users can send money or sell cryptocurrency safely.
When it started: 2018
Specialty: Fantasy soccer and baseball
Size: 131 employees
Technology stack: HTML5, Google Fonts, Google Tag Manager
Fantasy soccer always had a loyal, active audience, and Sorare identified their most pressing needs, devising this unique platform as a solution. For example, people who play fantasy soccer are also interested in other sports. That’s why the platform allows them to play both baseball and soccer. Secondly, Sorare offers stellar in-game facilities that genuinely allow users to experience these sports. The platform features hundreds of licensed clubs so that people can choose their favorite players for lineups. Users can also collect and trade NFT cards, which creates a solid bond to their childhoods. Basically, Sorare is reinforcing a childhood pattern, using nostalgia as a powerful emotion to connect to its users. And since sports fans love competitions, Sorare allows them to play in contests, earn rewards, and rise through the ranks. Even better – all these offers are free.
When it started: 2021
Specialty: Fighting carbon emissions
Size: 11-50 employees
Technology stack: NA
JustCarbon is another successful blockchain startup because it identified a core value in today’s society: fighting carbon emissions. As the weather changes are continuing to be a sore topic and people are expected to assume some responsibility to fight them, JustCarbon offers the solution:Buying JustCarbon Removal tokens (JCR) helps users mitigate carbon emissions. Here’s how it works:One JCR token entails removing one ton of carbon from the atmosphere. As a result, the platform aims to democratize carbon markets and facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Besides fighting for an essential current value, the platform is decentralized and reunites a team of climate, finance, technology, and carbon experts.
When it started: 2021
Specialty: Fantasy sports
Size: 101-250 employees
Technology stack: 17 technologies, including Viewport Meta, IPhone / Mobile Compatible, and SPF
Creaticles brands itself as a platform that can transform ideas into NFTs. The startup uses the ingenious idea that sparked the entire Cultural Revolution in the Renaissance:Patronage. Creaticles users have access to a worldwide pool of artists who can design specific requests. Of course, these creations will be NFTs. The artists currently receive payment in Ethereum and the platform’s native utility token called CRE8. These NFTs can be transferred to other marketplaces, meaning that artists can increase their income considerably. Why is the platform one of the top crypto startups today? It identified a significant trend showing that the global NFT marketplace is rising. More specifically, Creaticles leveraged the increase in demand for artistically designed NFTs. Besides, Creaticles has multi-chain expansion plans that diversify its roads to success. One example is its partnership with the Esports platform FirstBlood, thanks to which NFT rewards are offered in Esports tournaments. Creaticles also ran several other NFT contests for companies like Axie Infinity, MakerDAO, and Pangolin.
When it started: 2021
Specialty: Cross-chain DeFi dashboard for digital currency trading
Size: 1-10 employees
Technology stack: 30 technologies, including Viewport Meta, IPhone / Mobile Compatible, and SPF
Ape Board is the personification of simplicity in the world of crypto businesses – that’s why it claims to be “built by apes, for apes.” This blockchain platform is booming and will likely continue to be so because cryptocurrency is on the rise. People are using several cryptos in a bid to diversify their investment portfolios, and there’s an increased demand to execute transactions using crypto. That’s where Ape Board comes in. The platform supports a slew of cryptocurrencies, including Binance Exchange, Binance Smart Chain, Ethereum blockchain, Polygon,Solana, Terra.
Besides, Ape Board is a very intuitive cross-chain DeFi dashboard that anyone can use, even those lacking technical abilities. Users only have to add their addresses for the platform to track and show their DeFi activities across chains.
When it started: 2015
Specialty: Peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading and
Size: 251-500 employees
Technology stack: HTML5, Google Analytics, jQuery, SPF, LetsEncrypt, WordPress, etc.
Recent years have seen an increase in investors, with multiple apps facilitating regular people’s interest – and activity. Trading, short-selling, and long-term investments have all become highly accessible. Besides, financial advisors across the world recommend digital portfolio diversification with Bitcoin. That’s the train that Paxful hopped on. The startup understands that today’s people want to make their money work for them, but they may be wary about Bitcoin. As a result, the platform offers over 350 payment methods to buy and sell Bitcoin, such as Gift cards, Bank transfers, Goods and services, Cash, Cards.
Paxful also understands the importance of community for investors (especially crypto investors), which is why it’s designed as a peer-to-peer platform. The platform’s customer support makes this extensive support system from the community even better. Thus, legacy traders will help newbies make their first steps into the world of Bitcoin, scaling up their investments.
When it started: 2017
Specialty: Crypto payments and financial services
Size: 251-500 employees
Technology stack: 51 technologies, including Viewport Meta, IPhone / Mobile Compatible, and SPF
Pyypl is pronounced exactly like the word “people,” and the choice isn’t random. The platform’s core value is making digital money safe for everyone, thus becoming a strong advocate for financial inclusion. Therefore, Pyypl enables digital payments and financial services for everyone with a smartphone. Unlike Apple Pay or Google Pay, people don’t need bank accounts, cash, or credit cards to buy. The startup was born in 2017 in UAE, with the original purpose to cater to the Middle East and Africa. The smartphone market size was 600 million at the time, but Pyypl noticed these users were underserved from a financial standpoint. As such, few of them had access to traditional finance. Pyypl changed that situation, taking a decentralized approach and connecting those users to the formal financial system. Thus, their customers became connected to thousands of merchants worldwide, being able to trade in multiple currencies. Their “Blockchain On-Demand Liquidity” is another significant selling point. These strategies allowed Pyypl to expand from UAE to MEA, gaining the Ripple “2021 Global Visionary” award. Besides, the platform has strong partnerships with other financial institutions, including Visa.
When it started: 2018
Specialty: Streaming services
Size: 251-500 employees
Technology stack: HTML5, Google Analytics, Google Fonts, SPF, Amazon, and more
Since its founding in 2018 in Jakarta, Mola has expanded to several countries across the globe, including Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, and the UK. The platform offers video-on-demand and over-the-top streaming services. Much like Netflix or Apple TV, Mola uses a subscription model. So what makes it stand out from the competition? Firstly, Mola has a ton of broadcasting rights, both live and on-demand, for a slew of worldwide-renowned brands. Some of the most famous include the English Premier League, Bundesliga, UFC, and more. But Mola also understands the importance of online communities, just like Pyypl and Paxful above. That’s why Mola works closely with local communities, empowering content creators and athletes worldwide. Of course, that means Mola has a keen sense of leveraging social media to its advantage, thus creating a tight relationship with its Gen Z viewers. Mola also strengthens this relationship by:
- Offering exclusive access to NFTs holders
- Organizing events
- Offering exclusive content
- Connecting its viewers with their idols during live events
When it started: 2017
Specialty: Digital assets bank
Size: 251-500 employees
Technology stack: HTML5, Google Analytics, Google Workspace, Viewport Meta, SPF, and more
If there are banks for fiat currencies, why shouldn’t there be one for digital assets? Anchorage Digital is one such bank founded in 2017 in America. The financial institution works with banks allowing users to transact in crypto assets. That’s a practical solution to two significant issues. Once cryptocurrency appeared and more people became fascinated by it, scam artists multiplied. Many untrustworthy platforms attract users with bogus promises, only to steal consumer data or money – or both. Simultaneously, even legal, trustworthy platforms mostly allow users to trade crypto in a closed circle. But people want to use their digital assets for actual financial transactions, just like their fiat monies. That’s where Anchorage Digital comes in. The bank allows users to buy and sell stocks, governance, secure custody, and even use crypto as collateral for cash loans. That brings us to the next – and last – blockchain-based startup in this guide:
When it started: 2016
Specialty: Crypto-backed debt financing
Technology stack: HTML5, Google Analytics, jQuery, Viewport Meta, SPF, and more
The age-old saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” is ingeniously disproved by this innovative startup using blockchain technology. Here’s how it works: SALT Lending allows people to borrow money using their crypto as collateral instead of selling it. That means crypto holders can simultaneously buy literally anything with crypto without spending it. Using StackWise offers even more benefits. As they pay their monthly installments, people get a part of their money back into their crypto wallets. These rewards are available in three cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USD Coin. The loan conditions are enticing, too, seeing as people’s credit scores aren’t scrutinized as with traditional cash loans. Besides, the principal sums start at $1,000 with APRs from 0.52% and flexible tenures between 12 and 60 months. Conversely, the loan to value (LTV) may be as low as 20% or as high as 70%. That means, in some scenarios, people may only borrow up to 20% of their crypto collateral.
In short, blockchain startups are companies that use blockchain technology to power their businesses. But not all of them will be successful – in fact, most will fail. If you’ve read the article so far, you now know the qualities that can make or break a blockchain startup. However, there are a few diamonds in the rough, and we’ve highlighted eleven of the best ones to watch in 2022, analyzing what makes them thrive. Keep your eye on these companies – they will change the world.