Beyond Fintech: Startup Opportunities In Blockchain
Everyone continues to spar over the future of blockchain. Investors continue to debate bitcoin’s rise or demise. Banks are focused on the decentralized network underpinning bitcoin. Financial conglomerates pour cash into promising startups: Chain, Digital Asset Holdings, and Coinbase. The myriad of upcoming ICOs all are catching headlines with huge rounds. The promise of fully decentralized and transparent ledgers has, as a result, spurred a new wave of innovation. While the conversation has focused mostly on the financial services side, what opportunities are there for blockchain outside of financial services technology? We’ve written a bunch here at Bowery Capital about the future of the blockchain and some of the verticals that make the most sense to us. As a follow up to our post, here are three areas we think there are opportunities in blockchain and especially some start ups that are tackling these opportunities.
1. Identity Authentication. Through the power of blockchain ID, Blockstack seeks to rid the Internet of passwords, empowering users with more control over how they use their data. To differentiate itself from existing competitors, the company intends its software to be fully open source .core developer Muneeb Ali explains “We feel like a lot of our investors are really true believers in creating open-source communities and a large developer platform where everyone can contribute. We don’t feel like funding itself is an achievement. It’s really about what you’re working on.”
2. E-Commerce. Amid saturation in the e-commerce market, OpenBazaar is looking to bite out market share from one of online retail’s biggest players: Ebay. By exploiting the decentralized nature of bitcoin, the platform aims to reduce fees for buyers and sellers, undercutting Ebay’s competitive price points. The startup provides one of the most creative consumer application out there for bitcoin, by developing a fully-fledged decentralized marketplace.
3. Notarization. Stampery sees the opportunity to replace notaries with the power of bitcoin’s blockchain. The services will be able to issue legally binding proofs for any kind of sensitive documents. Co-Founder Daniele Levie remarks: “We use the bitcoin blockchain to prove the existence, integrity and ownership of any document,” He adds that “at heart, the blockchain is distributed database. We use this technology to be able to generate this proof.” Stampery may become the future of document notarization: a simple, highly automated tool to certify wills, oaths, contracts, and even protect intellectual property.
Mass media has largely focused on the applications of blockchain within the financial services community. Budding startups have however pointed out the enormous potential of bitcoin technology. Identification technology, e-commerce, notarization, and other areas all present interesting opportunities in blockchain.
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