Crystal ball gazing is a favorite pastime of cryptocurrency observers, though usually it’s applied to digital assets. Which coin will you wish you’d acquired 12 months from now? Which top 10 crypto will you wish you’d offloaded? Predicting the long-term trajectory of cryptocurrencies based on reading tea leaves – or even staring at TradingView charts – is a fool’s errand that’s destined for failure. A far safer bet is to predict the fortunes of crypto companies that have been going great guns in 2019.
If the following projects were headshots in a high school yearbook, they’d be labeled “Likeliest to succeed.” With strong fundamentals, impeccable teams, and a work rate that puts the rest of the industry to shame, their stars are very much in the ascendancy. You wouldn’t want to wager against them doubling down on this progress next year, and finishing 2020 on a high. Oh, and in case you’re wondering why the Binances and Huobis of the world are conspicuously absent from this list, they’ve already made it: this space is reserved for the little guys who’ve still got plenty of room to grow.
- Ava Labs
Does the cryptosphere need another high-speed network for payments and dApps? Yes, when that network happens to be Ava. The blockchain startup, which exited stealth mode in May, deploys a modular design that can be configured for frictionlessly trading digital assets securely, but with compliance baked in where applicable. Founded by Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer, and funded by Andreessen Horowitz, Metastable, Polychain, and former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, Ava Labs has got some serious clout.
With its network scheduled to launch this month, the stage is set for Ava to capture the industry’s attention once 2020 grinds into gear. At the heart of the network is the Avalanche consensus protocol, which promises high security, through utilizing thousands of nodes, with high performance: transaction finality is stated as 1-2 seconds. If Ava can convince businesses to build on it, it has every chance of making good on its promise that distributed ledgers don’t have to be slow and inefficient.
Having been spun out as a scaling solution for the EOS network, LiquidApps has evolved into an all-singing, all-dancing blockchain network in its own right, pioneering a host of innovative features whose use cases extend way beyond EOS. The crypto project’s DAPP Network caught most of the limelight this year, culminating in a $50,000 hackathon that saw 44 teams compete for the most original concept.
In the past 12 months, LiquidApps has rolled out LiquidAccounts, enabling dApp developers to provision seamless user onboarding; and LiquidLink for connecting blockchains, enabling dApps to launch simultaneously on, say, EOS and Ethereum, while pulling in multiple on-chain data feeds. And then there’s its vRAM service, which brings low-cost virtual storage to the DAPP Network, enabling popular EOS dApps to scale to serve tens of thousands of users.
Not all of the companies making the cryptosphere a better place are beavering away at the protocol level. Some, like CryptoJobsList (CJL) are more interested in improving things at the people level. The startup, the brainchild of Raman Shalupau, has become the go-to portal for blockchain companies seeking to hire top talent including developers, marketers, and researchers. In 2019, CJL added a Recommend feature, enabling job applicants to add a few words of commendation from an existing industry professional willing to vouch for them, and began running profiles on the crypto companies that utilize it, so jobseekers can gain an insight into what these firms are looking for, and what they have to offer skilled remote workers.
What’s this? Yet another company offering a crypto debit card? Yes and no. On the surface, that’s exactly what Monolith is, yet scratch a little deeper and you’ll find this UK-based startup is plowing a very different furrow. Tapping into the decentralized finance movement that has formed around Ethereum, Monolith enables users to retain full custody of their funds, including ETH and DAI/SAI, right up until the point at which they convert them to fiat to load onto their debit card. This might sound like a slender distinction, but it’s a huge one in making crypto spendable without compromising on its original trustless design. With the Monolith iOS and Android apps only weeks old, 2020 will be the year when this defi project blooms.
Built on top of the Augur framework, Guesser is a prediction market whose clean UX and colorful design make it look distinctly un-crypto. As one of the few crypto startups to have cracked the essence of good design as a means of abstracting complexity, Guesser has already made strides in creating a crypto-powered product that’s palatable to a broader audience. This is only the beginning though. Armed by a new round of seed funding and aided by a host of new features including multi-outcome markets, Guesser is primely positioned to capitalize on all the drama that 2020 has in store. With an impending UK general election and a US presidential election, plus major sporting events, expect to see a lot of ETH getting laid down on Guesser as it bids to cement its reputation as the web’s most user-friendly Augur market.
Crypto payments startup Eligma is committed to increasing the utility of digital assets as a medium of exchange, both in-store and online. The Slovenian tech company, which sprang to life in 2018, got a major shot in the arm this year when Bitcoin.com led its €4m seed round and the company’s Executive Chairman Roger Ver demonstrated Eligma’s PoS technology in-store. Then, in November 2019, Eligma’s GoCrypto (GOC) token debuted on Bitcoin.com Exchange.
Hundreds of merchants throughout eastern and central Europe now accept cryptocurrency thanks to Eligma’s PoS software, which enables business owners to get paid in their native fiat currency. In 2020, Eligma intends to roll its technology out to businesses of all kinds across the world, proving that cryptocurrency integration at the point of sale doesn’t have to be complicated.