With Bitcoin more than tripling recently since hitting it’s 2018 low of just over $3,000 USD, interest in the world of blockchain and digital currencies is back in a big way.

With reports of major international banks teaming up to invest in the creation a digital cash system using blockchain to settle financial transactions while Facebook releases plans to create their own digital currency, blockchain is capturing the major headlines on a weekly basis once again. 

Headlines are nice and all, but we’re yet to see the blockchain commercialization and mass adoption that some have been touting since 2017.

Scaling has been spotlighted as an issue as well as the lack of public education of the technology and currency side of things. Despite this, Asia still remains the world’s leading market for usage and arguably innovation. 

With regulation and traditional industries catching on to an ever-maturing blockchain ecosystem, we’re starting to see promising use cases of blockchain that will inevitably lead to adoption, whether it is noticed by the average consumer or not.

Here are five blockchain companies that are continuously innovating in the industry- 

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1. Quras
Consisting of an international team from Japan, China, India, and more, Quras is the world’s first public blockchain that allows anonymous transactions in a smart contract.

With aims at being a leader in the ‘Privacy 2.0’ era, Quras wants to be the go-to blockchain for collaboration and mass adoption while protecting privacy for both users and enterprises.

This approach allows the best of both worlds when it comes to the advantages of public and private blockchains.

Today, a smart contract transaction on a public blockchain, such as Ethereum, is not confidential and can be viewed by anyone.

This has been a big inhibitor to adoption by major companies who require strict data security and identity measures in a controlled, accountable (and often centralized) environment.

Using two types of privacy technologies, zero-knowledge proofs and ring signature, the Quras blockchain gives companies the opportunity to choose the suitable privacy level for any purpose.  

So what are some of the industries that can benefit from Quras’ “public yet private” blockchain? The short answer, every industry that requires specific user privacy without the expense of neither having too much transparency nor network participation restriction.

Use cases include the transaction of customer assets in traditional finance, the handling and protection of personal health records, secure e-voting identification and voting data privacy, cloud computing and IoT protection

Shigeki Kakutani, CEO of Quras, says “Information that flows into IoT devices needs to have adequate privacy of personal information, which will only become a bigger issue as IoT devices become a greater part of daily life.” 

With the support of more than 100,000 community members and developers, and growing, Quras is looking to become a recognizable name in the future of blockchain.

2. Yojee

Singapore-based, Yojee, continues to make strides in the multi-trillion global logistics industry. Yoyee is a ‘future-ready’ platform technology firm that uses a combination of blockchain technology, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to optimize and manage delivery operations. 

As an early-mover in the blockchain logistics space, Yojee is looking to capitalize on its extensive partner and client network that spans much of Asia and ANZ.

Yojee’s use of blockchain technology for the logistics and supply chain industry has many benefits, including the creation of a supply chain audit trail, proof of product authenticity, the streamlining of documentation, tamper-proof contracts, and ultimately true autonomous collaboration.  

Also Read: Blockchain-powered fintech firm Omise raises fresh financing to grow its subsidiaries

In 2017, Yojee launched its logistics-focused blockchain on Ethereum. Last year, the company made headlines signing a technology agreement with UPS Asia to utilize Yojee’s blockchain in the UPS supply chain environment.

The momentum has continued with the company signing a three-year deal with Asian logistics giant and top 10 logistics firm, Geodis, this past May with the agreement commencing this month.

With supply chain being a natural industry primed for a technological revolution, Yojee can secure itself in the driver’s seat for the foreseeable future in Asia. 

3. Advanced Blockchain AG
Built by early blockchain adopter Robert Küfner, Germany-based Advanced Blockchain AG is a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) company that has become the first blockchain company to list on three major German exchanges. 

These include the Frankfurt and Dusseldorf stock exchanges and Xetra, responsible for more than 90 per cent of all trading in shares at all German exchanges and approximately 30 per cent of trading in ETFs in Europe. For Küfner and team, Asia is still a major land of opportunity.

Küfner states, “Our goal is to make blockchain more accessible and easy to use for enterprises. We are currently doing this in Europe and see Asia as a market ripe for disruption and blockchain adoption.

Southeast Asia, in particular, has one of the highest engagement and usage rates on a consumer level, so it only makes sense that enterprises join by building processes and products that will help facilitate blockchain to the masses.”

With a proven track record in Europe and in the United States, keep an eye on Advanced Blockchain AG as they scale globally and provide custom blockchain solutions for companies. 

4. Altonomy

Fresh off of a $7m fundraising round led by Polychain Capital, Altonomy is a cryptocurrency trading desk focused on institutional clients.

Their main headquarters are in Singapore but the company also boasts offices in the United States. Altonomy’s partners include over 80 ICO issuers, exchanges and investment funds, including over 40 clients ranking in the top 200 by market capitalization.

With a lean team of approximately 20 employees, Altonomy has cornered a fast-growing market of liquidity providers, OTC desks, and advisory firms that realize that the dynamic nature of the industry creates a situation where it is important for companies to partner with firms that are lean, versatile, and ahead of the curve.

Also Read: 5 Asia-based startups that are making blockchain part of everyday life

Ricky Li, co-founder and Head of Americas for Altonomy, comments,  “We are proud of our ability to source liquidity for customers, regardless of token type, order size, market cap, or whether the asset trades on centralized or decentralized exchanges.

Backed by strategic capital and working closely with other luminaries across the asset class, like Polychain, we are the ideal partner to help investors navigate these primary and secondary markets, so they can harvest returns that are uncorrelated with the broader financial markets.”

With new funds and awareness, keep an eye out for Altonomy as they scale. 

5. ECOMI

The collectables industry generates over $200 billion annually, so it’s no wonder that digital collectables have started to transcend into the blockchain sphere.

And with blockchain, a consumer is able to actually own digital assets for the first time without worry that their access or rights may be taken away by the asset creator or ecosystem that an asset is housed in. 

ECOMI is a digital assets ecosystem that brings authenticity and immutability to collectables on the blockchain.

Since the company behind CryptoKitties became the first well-known digital collectables marketplace on the blockchain, raising nearly US$30 million since launching in November 2017, the NFT (non-fungible token) space has gotten increasingly competitive. 

Other promising players that are in this market outside of Ecomi are WAX, EPIK token, and Enjin.

But what makes ECOMI standout is its end-to-end ecosystem of products which include a digital collectables marketplace, a wireless hardware wallet, and a fiat-to-crypto payment card. 

David Yi, ECOMI’s CEO, has assembled an impressive executive team and list of partners that surely make the company a lead contender in this fast-evolving collectables industry.

Also Read:Can these blockchain products make a name as social media alternatives?

The company is gearing up to release its collectables marketplace to the public, ECOMI Collect, in the coming months. 

Conclusion
At this point, it’s undeniable that blockchain is here to stay, one way or another.

What’s still up for debate is how and when the technology will see adoption at scale, and how the varying regulatory environment in different countries will play into the expansion of the entire industry.

Stepping back and taking a look globally, it’s easy to see Asia taking a major leadership role in developing every day, blockchain-powered, consumer applications. But we’re yet to identify the major catalysts that will truly propel blockchain to be ‘bigger than the internet’.

That story is still being written.

Also Read: Blockchain will force banks to change their feudal mindset

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Image Credit: Benjamin Child