The hype hormones of Blockchain adolescence have finally relaxed. In 2017-18, its destiny swung wildly between ICOs and enterprise adoption. 2019 saw the maturation of the blockchain space: no more useless ICOs, and way more industry use cases.
There are thousands of active blockchain ventures out there. Ten of these projects, in particular, stand out. Some of these broaden the scope of blockchain technology, as a result its potential use can be seen to skyrocket. History has shown that the first-mover advantage is critical for companies utilizing new technology.
“Whereas most technologies tend to automate workers on the periphery doing menial tasks, blockchains automate away the center. Instead of putting the taxi driver out of a job, blockchain puts Uber out of a job and lets the taxi drivers work with the customer directly.”
– Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum co-founder
Undoubtedly, there are other exciting blockchain projects that deserve to be in the spotlight. For now, we will examine the Top Ten. Given below are the top ten blockchain projects, ranked in descending order, that will be likely revolutionizing their respective industries.
Echo is a sidechain platform, and a smart contract protocol designed to work with Bitcoin. Echo is leading our Top Blockchain Projects 2020 Chart as the platform showing immense range of possibilities for decentralized finance (DeFi) and enterprise blockchain development. It uses decentralized consensus based on VRF and BFT. Developers can build DeFi with other networks or with virtual machines (i.e. EVM, x64).
Interestingly, Echo did not raise capital via ICO. The platform’s entire infrastructure and protocol already existed, and since then it has grown exponentially and has bigger and better plans.
Echo team has successfully powered the protocol through the integration of Bitcoin sidechain. This integration makes Echo the “Bitcoin App Layer” and enables lenders, decentralized exchanges (DEX), enterprise-level DApps, and others to use domain-specific smart contracts while utilizing Bitcoin as a native currency.
Echo envisions developers using their infrastructure to create the next-generation financial applications where a user’s privacy and freedom is protected.
- x64 and EVM virtual machines
- Bi-directional Ethereum and Bitcoin sidechains
- Ability to build decentralized finance (DeFi) apps with Bitcoin
- Metamask-like browser extension and web3 support
- Proof of Weighted Randomness (PoWR) consensus
- Digital Identity on-chain
Capacity: 1,000+ TPS
Block Times: 3 seconds
Market Cap: TBA
Funds Raised: $7M
Polkadot emerges among all the contenders in our Top Blockchain Projects Chart as the enterprise that makes possible things like cross-blockchain computation.
One of the major benefits of the Polkadot protocol is the support of arbitrary data transfer, not just token transfer, which can be done both publicly and privately, across a number of blockchains and within a single network. This feature allows for building a bridge between two blockchains secured by different consensus algorithms: public also known as permissionless, and private aka consortium blockchains.
Irrespective of whether the transacting blockchains are public or closed, such as those that might be used in an international banking system, Polkadot’s protocol is designed to enable these mechanisms to interoperate with each other as equal citizens of one common network.
The structural elements of the protocol are the Relay Chain and the Parachains. The Parachains representing either private or public blockchains communicate with each other through the main element, the Relay Chain, which is tasked with maintaining consensus across all the other elements on the network.
In addition, Polkadot has a software framework for people to implement their own Parachains, create ecosystems, and be able to add and remove them from the network.
- Interoperability of cross-blockchain transfers within the network
- Economic scalability implemented through parallel blockchains
- Substrate, a Polkadot’s blockchain building framework
- Resilient network able to upgrade itself without forking
- “Pooled security,” for the validators to secure multiple chains
- User-driven governance system
Capacity: 1000+ TPS
Block Times: 4 seconds
Monthly Users: 20K+
Funds Raised: $145M
Handshake has the goal of canonicalization of names and security via blockchain. The project is aimed at creating a decentralized network for allocation of usernames and domain names identifying the URI for websites.
Handshake offers an alternative way of securing data, which is totally different from the current single-root DNS zone and the private certificate authority companies that the Internet relies on. The project’s idea is to replace the centralized root zone file and give control of data to the actual Internet users.
Blockchain’s Part in the Project
Blockchain is used to facilitate a global agreement on ordering, so one could know if a name already exists on the network. A cryptographic key gives complete ownership and control to the name-owner, enabling them to upload, identify, and authorize information associated with their name on the Handshake.
Handshake blockchain works essentially as a distributed file. One could add an entry to the chain, or go through a simple payment verification, without being forced to run a full node, which is equivalent to saving a world of domains on their computer.
What is particularly interesting about Handshake is that the bigger part of its proof-of-work (PoW) mining power is produced using renewable energy sources, wind and hydro.
At PixelPlex, we are watching the development of Handshake closely. In the past, we collaborated with the Hadera team to help build a graphics processing unit (GPU) and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) based miners.
- Decentralized naming of internet endpoints
- No singular corporation or entity in control of the protocol
- Ability to prove domain ownership via Handshake’s trust anchor
- Domain name resolutions via light client and PoW mechanisms
- Decentralized name auction as the way to reach global agreement
- Permissionless/Public zone file
Capacity: 150+ TPS
Block Times: 10 minutes
Funds Raised: $8.4M
4. Hedera Hashgraph
Hadera Hashgraph defines itself as a blockchain “for fast, fair, and secure applications to take advantage of the efficiency of Hashgraph on a decentralized, public network that you can trust.” The platform uses a unique consensus algorithm. It combines the Proof of Stake consensus (Virtual Voting) with a so called “Gossip protocol” to create events around the network.
Developers, organizations, and technology enthusiasts can build on top of Hashgraph and use its powerful consensus service, take advantage of its event ordering and publicly verifiable timestamps. Besides, the platform’s API and Hadera’s native coin, HBAR, enables micropayments at the cost of a fraction of a cent with no intermediaries involved.
Hedera Hashgraph uses Google’s cloud service for its public blockchain. In return, Google has joined Hedera’s governing council.
“We’re inspired by what Hedera has accomplished to date, and look forward to providing the infrastructure and technologies to support what’s possible with distributed ledger technology.”
– Allen Day, the attorney at Google Cloud
Hedera is administered by a Governing Council comprising some of the largest global corporations including Google, IBM, Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, and more. It works to ensure stability of operations, and oversees the strategic planning for the Hedera blockchain.
- Hashgraph “Virtual Voting” consensus
- Hedera network services
- Integration with Google Cloud
- Hedera Governing Council
- Third party application support
Capacity: 10K+ TPS
Block Times: 3 seconds
Monthly Users: 37K+
Market Cap: $194M+
Funds Raised: $118M
The Solana project has positioned itself as the world’s fastest blockchain. It currently handles nearly 60k transactions per second, supports 400ms block times, and has 50 nodes on its Testnet. Its capability to scale transaction throughput without sacrificing decentralization and security makes the initiative very valuable.
Solana’s core step forward is the Proof of History-based protocol that significantly streamlines the process of reaching consensus. It has a precise clock on which every node can base its transaction timestamp. With this, Solana solves the “clock problem” of getting parties to agree on the time and order of events. As a result, consensus is reached easily.
A number of hyper-growth projects, like DDEX, Civic, and Hummingbot, to name a few, have joined Solana’s initiative to try out its high throughput and scalability characteristics.
- Proof of History-based protocol: a clock before consensus
- PoH-optimized version of Tower Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT)
- Turbine, Solana’s block propagation protocol
- Gulfstream, Solana’s mempool-less transaction forwarding protocol
- Cloudbreak, a horizontally-scaled accounts database
- Solana’s archives: distributed ledger storages
Capacity: 50K+ TPS
Block Times: 400 milliseconds
Funds Raised: $21.8M
Tezos technology was introduced as the first “self-amending” blockchain and a multi-purpose platform combining a self-correcting protocol and on-chain governance for managing network modifications. Self-amendment helps to avoid a hard fork while adjusting, modifying, and upgrading the blockchain. All stakeholders can take part in network upgrades via proposing, evaluating, or approving suggested amendments.
Tezos is powered by XTZ tokens generated through deposits, signing and publishing blocks on the network. Its community calls it “baking”, and those who take part in the process are rewarded in native XTZ coin.
The project developed its own version of DPoS protocol called Liquide Proof of Stake (LPoS), which differentiates Tezos from other DPoS-based blockchains. Instead of requiring a fixed delegate group producing blocks to reach consensus, Tezos makes delegation optional. Through LPoS model, XTZ owners can delegate the right to verify transactions without the need to actually transfer ownership of their coins.
Among the key features that Tezos offers there are its native smart contract programming language and the modular architecture mechanism. Its strong and vibrant community helps Tezos to sustain its place among the Top Blockchain Projects 2020.
- Liquid Proof of Stake democracy
- Self-governance and democratic voting mechanism
- Security of smart contracts through formal verification
- Bakers undermining blocks and Endorsers ensuring block legitimacy
Capacity: 40 TPS (The current limit is Tezos’ precautionary measure. In this report you can find out the reasons on why the team chose to remain with the lower throughput for the Layer 1 of Tezos)
Block Times: 60 seconds
Monthly Users: 80K+
Market Cap: $2B+
Funds Raised: $232M
Robinhood became a tech unicorn for offering commission-free investing in traditional assets. Over the past couple of years, it has slowly expanded the number of states on its crypto list.Presently, it offers four types of crypto in 30 states, which allows Robinhood to level the playing field with the Top Blockchain Projects 2020 shaking up the financial technology (FinTech) industry.
The crypto-savvy commentator may question why Robinhood does not allow its users to manage their wallet addresses. “Not your keys, not your crypto,” right? Sure, Robinhood’s target audience do not care, and that is okay. This is far outweighed by what Robinhood contributes to the crypto world: a legitimization of cryptocurrency alongside regular stocks and options. Normalizing the crypto economy for regular investors could mean a brand new wave of interest in decentralized currency.
- Robinhood Gold: research reports and market data
- Robinhood Snacks: a financial news podcast and newsletter
- Multiple investment types: stock trading, cryptocurrency trading, etc.
- Intuitive mobile platform for people on the go
- Research offerings, earning calendars, and much more
Monthly Installs: 1,400K+
Monthly Users: 32,700K+
Funds Raised: $280M
Qtum is a DApp development platform. It leverages the robustness of the Bitcoin blockchain and the security of UTXO, while enabling the virtual machines (EVM, x86). The fact that it is PoS based, and has a DGP, enables developers to change blockchain settings such as block the repository size without hard forking. Thanks to smart contracts for this.
Qtum is compatible with existing blockchain technology, but decouples applications from the foundational protocol via its Account Abstraction Layer (AAL). This means it can perform efficiently while keeping the door open to greater Ethereum smart contract usage in the near future. Qtum might be the gateway to mass adoption of decentralized technology on smartphones.
For quite a long period of time, PixelPlex team of 20 seasoned specialists worked side-by-side with the Qtum team to help launch its open-source blockchain platform and ecosystem.
Qtum keeps its place among the most promising blockchain projects 2020 as it continues evolving its platform, attracting more talent in the community.
- Decentralized Governance Protocol to customize the blockchain
- QRC20 token, ERC20 token, and QRC721 non-fungible token support
- Smart contract, EVM, and the x86 virtual machine support
- Over 5000 nodes operational around the globe
- Active community of developers, providing documents and tools
Capacity: 10K+ TPS
Block Times: 128 seconds
Monthly Users: 24K+
Market Cap: $187B+
Funds Raised: $17M
In 2018, Telegram announced its own GRAM coin and a whole new Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain platform which became a huge technological breakthrough. In 2020, Telegram’s new blockchain and ecosystem is said to be the third-generation blockchain network (Blockchain 3.0) with an infinitely-scalable and reliable architecture offering the key to the DeFi economy.
TON has established a secure environment and ecosystem with an open-source model containing:
- TON local node
- TON SDK
- TON Storage
- TON Payments
- TON DNS
- TON Proxy
- TON’s Distributed Hash Table
- TON P2P & TON Services
The project is on the road to evolve into an advanced ecosystem with its own stablecoin, an environment of services such as DApps, and peer-to-peer payments with no fees.
Update as on May 12, 2020: TON Blockchain Shutdown
As per a message from Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov, the company announces the end of TON and the linked GRAM tokens after a lengthy battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The decision was made in response to a U.S. court order prohibiting Telegram from distributing its Gram tokens anywhere in the world.
“Today is a sad day for us here at Telegram. We are announcing the discontinuation of our blockchain project. You may see – or may have already seen – sites using my name or the Telegram brand or the ‘TON’ abbreviation to promote their projects. Don’t trust them with your money or data.”
– Pavel Durov, CEO Telegram
TON project shutdown may not be the end of the Telegram Open Network’s journey. Durov’s sudden announcement comes after the TON blockchain was launched independently from Telegram by the Free TON, an independent community of validators.
Libra is Facebook’s attempt to reshape the global financial system, backed by payment giants such as Visa, PayPal, and MasterCard. The new currency will be called the Libra token, a stablecoin protected by baskets of currencies and US Treasury Securities. Along with a new currency is a new programming language, called “Move”, and a new digital wallet, called “Novi”. Move’s relationship to Libra is similar to Solidity’s relationship with Ethereum. However, Move is supposed to be more secure than Solidity.
When you think of governance, think “Libra Association”. It makes all decisions for the platform via a two-thirds vote which is hard coded into the protocol. Its association members include partnering venture capital firms, blockchain companies, non-profits, eCommerce companies, and many more.
On the one hand, Libra does cut out middlemen like banks from money transfers, that could accelerate global adoption of blockchain technology. On the other hand, its boldness is a concern. US regulators fear its capacity to assist in money laundering and fraud. Without Uncle Sam’s approval, Libra could fade into obscurity.
- Libra itself is a stablecoin backed by a reserve of assets
- Libra is governed by the independent Libra Association
- Libra uses the LibraBFT consensus mechanism
- Libra has its “Move” language for building smart contracts
Capacity: 1000+ TPS
Block Times: 10 seconds
The revolutionary capacity of blockchain is often compared to the Internet. It is important to understand how these capacities manifest themselves. The Internet is the boisterous, smiling in-your-face technology that anyone can understand. Blockchain works best behind the scenes.
If you have been following blockchain news, you must have heard of decentralized finance (DeFi) projects, security token offering (STO) platforms, and stablecoins. Numerous opportunities are open in these areas for professionals who want to work in the blockchain space.
Apart from these top 10 blockchain projects, there are a large number of other great initiatives which undoubtedly have the potential to be groundbreaking. Their success or failure largely depends on the steps taken in the long run.